NEW YORK — More workers may soon be able to stake some of their 401(k) retirement savings to bitcoin, as cryptocurrencies crack even deeper into the mainstream.
Retirement giant Fidelity said Tuesday that it’s launched a way for workers to put some of their 401(k) savings and contributions directly in bitcoin, potentially up to 20%, all from the account’s main menu of investment options. Fidelity said it’s the first in the industry to allow such investments without having to go through a separate brokerage window, and it’s already signed up one employer that will add the offering to its plan later this year.
Fidelity’s offering may be one of just a few for a while, given the substantial concerns about the riskiness of cryptocurrencies. The U.S. government last month warned the retirement industry to exercise “extreme care” when doing something like this, highlighting how inexperienced investors may not appreciate just how volatile cryptocurrencies can be, among other concerns.
Bitcoin had five days in the last year where it plunged by at least 10%. The stocks in the S&P 500, meanwhile, had only two such drops in the last 50 years. Beyond its volatility, there’s still fundamental disagreement about how much a bitcoin is worth, or even if it’s worth anything at all.