The financial giant will now allow customers to trade bitcoin, although they will not be able to withdraw it to self-custody.
Customers of Fidelity Investments can now buy bitcoin through the broker. The Fidelity Crypto platform, first opened to a waitlist in November 2022, is now available to the public, as of yesterday.
Customers are able to buy and sell bitcoin, although they will not be able to transfer it to a self-custody wallet where the user controls their private keys. During the launch of the waitlist, there was mention of this ability to come later, but no detail or roadmap has been provided beyond that.
When trading, customers will not be charged a “fee,” but a 1% spread, which Fidelity has defined as “the difference between the price at which you buy or sell crypto in your Fidelity Crypto account and the price at which Fidelity Digital Assets fills your order.” This spread will be visible in the client execution price.
Trading will only be available to U.S. residents over the age of 18 in eligible states.
Fidelity’s foray into cryptocurrency has not been without criticism, with a group of senators, stating in a letter to the financial firm:
“Fidelity Investments has opted to expand beyond traditional finance and delve into the highly unstable and increasingly risky digital asset market.”
But that seemingly hasn’t stopped Fidelity.
While their introduction of the service to the public may be welcomed, it is specifically during moments like the current banking crisis that extra emphasis should be placed upon self-custody. Trust in institutions that are exceptionally large, similar to Fidelity, is what has led to the fiasco seen over the last week.
So, while Fidelity is often regarded as a highly-trusted institution, it should still be noted that trusted third-parties are security holes, and that the only true way to sovereignly use bitcoin is through the holding of one’s own private keys.