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Fidelity Bulks Up Its Thematic Lineup With Crypto and Metaverse ETFs

The Fidelity Metaverse ETF (ticker FMET) and the Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (FDIG) will begin trading Thursday.

(Bloomberg) -- Fidelity Investments is launching a pair of crypto-focused exchange-traded funds in a bid to grab flows from rivals that have swooped into the nascent space. 

The Fidelity Metaverse ETF (ticker FMET) and the Fidelity Crypto Industry and Digital Payments ETF (FDIG) will begin trading Thursday. FMET will primarily invest in companies involved in building out the “future state of the Internet.” FDIG will track blockchain and digital payment processing companies, according to a statement.

Fidelity steps into an increasingly crowded market with more than a dozen crypto-themed equity ETFs already trading. The firm had hoped to launch a spot Bitcoin ETF, but the Securities and Exchange Commission rejected its application this year and has not approved of proposals by other firms for similar products. 

Fidelity faces tough competition in the thematic arena as well, as billions pour into such funds across the industry and firms such as BlackRock Inc. build out teams. However, the firm’s scale will likely give the issuer a leg up in the crypto space, said Jennica Ross, managing director at WallachBeth Capital. 

“People are increasingly becoming familiar with what the metaverse is, and what it could be in the future. Naturally, investors are looking for ways to play this,” Ross said. “The question of success is often a combination of first-mover advantage -- like we saw with Roundhill’s METV fund -- along with access to distribution, which Fidelity and other larger issuers have.”

The Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (METV) is a front-runner among other metaverse ETFs, with $705 million in assets under management less than a year after it launched, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Now, FMET is coming in with the lowest fee among the four other ETFs that track the metaverse: 39 basis points. FDIG also charges 39 basis points.

FMET isn’t Fidelity’s only foray into the metaverse. Also on Thursday, the firm is launching a metaverse experience called “The Fidelity Stack,” aimed at teaching retail traders the basics of investing. It will be built in Decentraland, a browser-based metaverse backed by the Digital Currency Group. And, it will be accessible to any user via computer, including those without Fidelity trading accounts.

“We are very focused on reaching the next generation of customers to Fidelity,” said David Dintenfass, chief marketing officer and head of emerging customers at the firm.

Fidelity joins other major financial institutions launching their own metaverse experiences. JPMorgan Chase & Co., for instance, also has a lounge in Decentraland where visitors are greeted by a digital portrait of Jamie Dimon and a roaming tiger. And HSBC Holdings Plc. debuted in the metaverse in March by acquiring a space in The Sandbox, a blockchain-based mobile game consisting of a map of virtual lands which can be bought, sold and built upon.

In addition to the crypto-focused ETFs, Fidelity is also launching five sustainable fixed-income mutual funds and ETFs on Thursday. The new offerings expand Fidelity’s ETF lineup to 51 products with more than $33 billion in assets, a spokesperson said.

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