Financial services giant Fidelity Investments wants sophisticated investors interested in cryptocurrencies to “Turn Here.”

The broker becomes the latest traditional financial institution to enter the brave new world of cryptocurrencies, thus  providing another signal digital currencies are entering the mainstream.

The company said Monday it is launching Fidelity Digital Asset Services, which will provide custody and trade execution for cryptocurrencies. But only for institutional investors such as hedge funds and the offices that manage the affairs of wealthy families.

In a news release, Fidelity said it would provide secure storage of bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and other digital assets as well as trade execution at multiple venues.

A 2018 Greenwich Associates survey found 72 percent of institutional investors say cryptocurrency will have a place in the future.

Michael Novogratz, founder and CEO of Galaxy Digital, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that Fidelity is addressing a pressing need. “We’ve been saying for a long time that one of the things that gets institutional investors involved in crypto is custody solutions,” he said.

A Bigger Role

Fidelity’s announcement comes as major financial services firms and institutions play a bigger role in the rapidly growing crypto world through investments and the development of their own projects.

In August, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which owns the New York Stock Exchange, said it was creating a company and trading platform for digital assets. Morgan Stanley and Citi are also working on cryptocurrencyrelated initiatives. And Yale has joined a growing list of high-profile universities that are investing some of their endowments in crypto funds. Observers of the crypto and financial services worlds have taken note.

“What’s good is you’re getting multiple people involved in the space, all with credible names,” Novogratz said in the Bloomberg interview.It’s going to get that much closer for consultants to say, ‘Hey, this is a safe asset class.’”

A 2018 Greenwich Associates survey found 72 percent of institutional investors say cryptocurrency will have a place in the future.

Fidelity has nearly $2.5 trillion in assets under management and provides services to more than 12,500 financial advisory firms.

CEO’s a Believer

CEO Abby Johnson is a long-time crypto enthusiast. “I’m a believer,” she told an audience at the Consensus 2017 conference.

Since 2015, the company’s independent charitable organization, Fidelity Charitable, has been allowing individuals to make donations in bitcoin, and the company has had a small but profitable mining project in place for about the same time. Through a partnership with Coinbase last year, the company enabled its clients to see their cryptocurrency assets on the digital exchange.

In the news release announcing Fidelity Digital Assets, Johnson said the company wants to make “digitally-native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors, We expect to continue investing and experimenting, over he long-term, with ways to make this emerging asset class easier for our clients to understand and use.”

Ross Snel contributed to this report.
James Rubin
James Rubin has covered a range of business topics for such publications as the Economist Intelligence Unit, Forbes Insights and Adweek. His papers have been presented at World Economic Forum events. He was an associate editor at TheStreet and is the author of the "Urban Cyclist's Survival Guide."