In what bitcoin geeks undoubtedly interpreted as a sign of bitcoin’s renewed relevance now that its price is at all-time highs, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson told CoinDesk’s Consensus conference that her company is now in the business of mining bitcoin.
“Ms Johnson noted that Fidelity has also set up a bank of computers built by 21 Inc that can crunch complex algorithms to be rewarded with bitcoin.
“My…computer has mined over 200,000 satoshis,” she said, using the name for the smallest unit of bitcoin.
Her remarks coincide with an astounding rally in virtual currencies like bitcoin. As DoubleLine’s Jeffrey Gundlach noted on Tuesday, bitcoin is up 100% in under two months, implying that the turmoil in Chinese markets was driving more locals into bitcoin.
Johnson also added that Fidelity now allows employee to pay for lunch with bitcoin at the cafeteria in its Boston headquarters. She noted that fewer than 100 employees have paid with bitcoin, demonstrating an unnatural-sounding mastery of industry slang.
“I guess we have a lot of hodlers,” she said, using the slang for bitcoin users who avoid selling the currency when it jumps in value.
And Fidelity's CEO also revealed information about her company's partners on its journey, naming blockchain startup Axoni, investment firm Boost VC and university initiatives based out of MIT, University College London and Cornell. To date, Johnson explained that Fidelity Labs, its internal R&D division has also set up experiments for bitcoin micropayments and even run bitcoin and ethereum mining operations in the spirit of learning more about the technology. Further, she revealed that Fidelity will be taking some conservative steps to expose Fidelity's customers more to the industry, announcing that customers will soon be able to see Coinbase holdings on Fidelity.com. Already, she said, this feature is available to employees who own digital currencies available through the startup's services.