Fidelity’s Crypto Arm Files For Trust License

Fidelity Digital Asset Services (FDAS) has applied for a Trust License in New York. The license will enable FDAS to provide storage and trading solutions for digital assets.

Arthur Long, a lawyer with law firm Gibson Dunn, told online publication The Block that the trust license is more “expansive” as compared to BitLicense, New York’s license for crypto firms.

“A trust license allows a firm to operate a broader swath of services in financial markets, such as financial advice, hinting at far reaching ambitions,” he said. “The process of securing the heavily-guarded green-light from the NYDFS often takes half a year. Any bank or trust company is going to have to go through a substantial process so that regulators understand the business.”

In the meantime, FDAS is likely to take its time to finetune the service. The company’s head, Tom Jessop, earlier told The Block that FDAS will not operate as a trading firm. In fact, it does not, and will not have a desk at all. Instead, it will act as an agent for its institutional clients.

The clients want to avoid issues with having to work through multiple exchanges, as well as the risks that accompany such processes. Instead, they would rely on Fidelity Digital Assets Services to do the trading for them, he said. FDAS said it plans to provide clients with a platform that will minimize administrative risks and provide the best prices at the same time.

The new development means that Fidelity’s digital assets’ wing is now competing with a number of rivals, including Coinbase, Paxos, or Gemini. It has also emerged as a strong competitor to Bakkt – a digital asset platform backed by ICE, owner of the New York Stock Exchange. The startup began testing its futures contracts today.