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Fidelity Offers Bitcoin for 401(K) Accounts

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Later this year, the 23,000 companies that use Fidelity to facilitate their retirement plans will have the option to put Bitcoin on their account. The adoption of Bitcoin by the nation's largest retirement plan provider suggests that Bitcoin is moving further into the mainstream.

The company is planning on administering plans with more than 20 million participants and $2.7 trillion in assets under management. The move comes at a time of heightened interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Fidelity is estimating that about 80 million U.S. individual investors own or have invested in digital currencies. 

Fidelity moved forward with this offering a month after the Labor Department expressed concerns about including cryptocurrencies in retirement plans. “There is a need for a diverse set of products and investment solutions for our investors,” said Dave Gray, head of workplace retirement offerings and platforms at Fidelity. “We fully expect that cryptocurrency is going to shape the way future generations think about investing for the near and long term.”

Fidelity is planning on letting savers allocate as much as 20% of their portfolio to Bitcoin. But that threshold could be lowered by plan sponsors. Gray also said that it would initially be limited to Bitcoin only, but expects other digital assets to eventually be available for investment.

According to Gray, workers at companies can sign up for the new offering and elect to transfer up to 20% of account balances to a digital assets account that holds Bitcoin and uses Fidelity’s institutional trading and custody platform. Employees can also invest up to 20% of each payroll contribution in Bitcoin, but employers can choose to impose lower contributions.

If the balance in Bitcoin holdings exceeds 20% of the portfolio’s value, the employee will not be able to transfer additional sums to the account from other investments in the 401(k) plan.

About 5% or less of the Bitcoin account will be held in short-term money markets to provide liquidity to facilitate daily transactions. Gray said that the fees on the account will be between 0.75% and 0.9%, depending on the client, and not including trading costs.

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