In September 2022, Nasdaq unveiled its digital assets division, with plans to launch a proprietary crypto custody solution. Today Bloomberg reported the expected launch timing is late in Q2 of this year.
The stock exchange group has applied to the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) for a trust company charter specifically for this purpose. According to the Head of Nasdaq Digital Assets, Ira Auerbach, the service will initially support Bitcoin and Ether custody but will expand and ultimately cover execution services for institutions.
Auerbach joined Nasdaq from the Gemini exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins. When the plans were announced last year, Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman mentioned the potential for blockchain technology to “transform markets over the long term.”
Nasdaq’s technology division has long since provided services to the digital assets sector, including its marketplace technology and crypto AML offerings.
The exchange has invested in both crypto startups and the enterprise blockchain side, including Symbiont (in Chapter 11) and Fnality, the institutional blockchain settlement platform.
Numerous other incumbents are starting to offer digital asset custody, especially custodian banks and the securities services divisions of the larger banks. BNY Mellon has launched its service, with State Street readying its solution. The offerings are invariably a mix of in-house solutions combined with licenses from custody technology startups.