Wall Street’s Fidelity Investments, through its Fidelity Digital Assets (FDA) division, wants to secure a Trust license in New York. It has reportedly filed an application with the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for the license, which would give it the ability to launch more than just custody services for digital assets. Fidelity has been pushing for more cryptocurrency integration into its offerings since 2018, but has not yet been able to go as deep as it had once hoped.
If the license is granted, FDA would join a space that is already occupied by companies such as Paxos, Coinbase and Gemini. Another entity hoping to get involved, and which was announced early last year, is Bakkt. The Intercontinental Exchange-owned entity has submitted a license application to serve as a custody platform for institutional investors, but has still not received approval.
Crypto companies that want to operate in New York State must apply for a BitLicense. However, operating under a trust license gives them a lot more flexibility and gives investors access to more services in various financial markets. They can offer trading services for their institutional clients, as well as other options not covered by the BitLicense.
Receiving a Trust license isn’t easy in New York. The NYDFS submits all applicants to an arduous process as it explores every detail of the company’s operations, and typically takes around six months. Bakkt, which submitted its application last year, is still waiting and no indications of when it could receive its license have been given. However, the company is still planning on holding a test launch today in spite of the fact that no license has been issued.
FDA will most likely concentrate solely on the institutional investment community, leaving retail investors aside. The entity’s Tom Jessop, a former Goldman Sachs director and now head of FDA, said during a recent conversation on the subject, “We are not prop trading, we don’t have a desk. We are purely acting as effectively an agent, and that’s what our clients want. Our clients want to avoid the issues associated with funding on multiple exchanges, both administrative risk, or otherwise, they want something resembling the best price experience, and so we’ll try to do that by bringing liquidity onto our platform.”
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