Fidelity Could Have Become As Big as Coinbase in Crypto Industry, Says Former Execs: Report

Fidelity Could Have Become As Big as Coinbase in Crypto Industry, Says Former Execs: Report
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A former Fidelity executive says that the financial giant almost became a competitor to crypto exchange COINBASE in the early days of digital assets.

According to a new Wall Street Journal , former Fidelity executive Jurica Bulovic, who later became head of mining at Bitcoin mining firm Foundry, says Fidelity “could have been more aggressive” when Coinbase was establishing itself.

Fidelity reportedly lost many custody clients to Coinbase, and had it been more competitive, Bulovic says the firm could be as big as Coinbase is in the crypto space today.

“Hindsight is 20/20. When I look back now, I think Fidelity could have become a household name for buying and selling crypto like Coinbase is today.”

Alex Thorn, head of firmwide research at crypto financial services firm Galaxy Digital, said that back then, Fidelity was pioneering a venture into digital assets, and had a leg up on other traditional finance firms.

“There are a lot of us that have worked on crypto for so long because Fidelity has worked on crypto much longer than any other traditional financial firm…

It wasn’t like we were learning about this crazy crypto thing with kid gloves on because we were traditional… We took a huge step into it, and that made Fidelity an early magnet for talent.”

Another executive, Matt Walsh, founding partner at crypto venture firm Castle Island Ventures, says that Fidelity Investments CEO Abby Johnson was taking an optimistic stance on Bitcoin compared to other veterans of the TradFi space like Goldman Sachs CEO Jamie Dimon.

Says Walsh,

“This was when Jamie Dimon said that Bitcoin was tulip bubbles, and there was no use looking at it… Abby was taking the total opposite end of it.”

However, lack of regulatory clarity and “internal and external pressure” eventually pushed Johnson into holding back on her push into crypto, according to the report.

Fidelity, alongside BlackRock and Ark Invest, is one of many traditional finance companies pursuing a license to issue a spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) product. So far, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not approved their applications.