The giant Fidelity opens its retirement savings plans to bitcoin

The US asset manager estimates that around 80 million Americans own or have owned investments in digital currencies.

The American asset manager Fidelity announced on Tuesday that it would allow employees contributing for their pensions to build part of their savings in bitcoins, a new gesture participating in the popularization of cryptocurrency despite the warnings of the authorities.

This option will be available in the United States from the middle of the year. The 23,000 or so companies that go through Fidelity to manage their retirement funds (401k plans) may decide to open this option to their employees.

The software publisher MicroStrategy will be the first company to offer this possibility to its employees.

“There is growing interest from plan administrators in financial vehicles that allow them to provide their employees with access to digital assets through defined contribution plans,” said Dave Gray, chief executive, in a statement. retirement plans at Fidelity.

Mr. Gray also underlined the desire of many employees “to incorporate cryptocurrencies into their long-term investment strategies”.

80 million Americans

Fidelity estimates that approximately 80 million Americans own or have owned digital currency investments. With 11.3 trillion in assets it manages on behalf of its clients, Fidelity is one of the largest financial services providers in the world.

As early as 2014, the group had shown interest in blockchain technology, which secures cryptocurrency transactions, and in bitcoin mining.

In 2018, the group created Fidelity Digital Assets, a subsidiary dedicated to customers wishing to speculate on digital currencies, bringing the seal of a traditional finance giant to a market then in search of legitimacy. In 2020, Fidelity launched a bitcoin fund for its wealthiest customers.

“Extreme precaution”

The Department of Labor last month warned against investing in cryptocurrencies for retirement plans, calling on administrators to exercise “extreme caution.”

The ministry notably underlined the high volatility of digital currencies, their highly speculative nature, as well as the rapid evolution of the regulations governing cryptocurrencies.

He also mentioned the risks associated with forgetting or losing a password, which could “result in the permanent loss of assets”.

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