Fidelity unlocks Bitcoin as collateral for borrowing on BlockFi

Fidelity Digital Assets, the crypto arm of the asset management conglomerate, will allow institutional customers to pledge their Bitcoin (BTC) as collateral for cash loans.

As reported Wednesday on Bloomberg, the firm partnered with crypto lender BlockFi to disburse the loans. Institutional clients of Fidelity’s custodial solution will be able to draw cash loans from their stored Bitcoin without having to move it, provided they have an account with BlockFi.

The target customers of this feature are primarily hedge funds, miners and over-the-counter trading desks. Overcollateralized lending is generally used to access liquidity without losing a long position on the asset used as collateral. The cash can be used to enter leveraged positions and build hedged strategies, or pay for business expenses.

In a conversation with Cointelegraph, a Fidelity spokesperson said that the offering comes as part of a “demand for increased capital efficiency” among its customers. “Our full-service offering that includes custody and trading will continue to help institutions enable capital efficiency, while prioritizing asset safety and stillness,” they said

The loan-to-value ratio will be set to 60%, meaning that each $1,000 in collateral can back at most $600 in borrowed money. Nonetheless, that parameter could change according to the specific customer’s needs. Fidelity clarified that it does not play any role in setting loan terms, limiting its contribution in the tri-party agreement to the safekeeping of the Bitcoin.

Fidelity Digital Assets has provided Bitcoin custodial services since October 2019. More recently, it also began offering its services to the Asian market.

BlockFi is a major cryptocurrency lender, offering interest on deposits sent to the platform. While it is a retail-centric company when it comes to collecting deposits, that money is primarily lent out to other institutions. The company recently launched a Visa debit card with Bitcoin rewards.

Update, 16:30 UTC: Added commentary from a Fidelity spokesperson.

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