Capital markets News

Nasdaq launches digital assets business starting with custody


Today Nasdaq announced the launch of Nasdaq Digital Assets, a new division that intends to offer a proprietary digital custody solution as well as institutional liquidity and execution services. No launch date was mentioned. Judging by the executive appointments, it’s still early in the journey.

“Nasdaq Digital Assets builds upon the successful solutions we have introduced in recent years to serve the digital assets ecosystem, including marketplace technology for digital asset exchanges, crypto-native anti-financial crime offerings, and crypto-related index solutions for tradable products,” said Adena Friedman, President and CEO, Nasdaq. 

“The technology that underpins the digital asset ecosystem has the potential to transform markets over the long-term. To deliver on that opportunity, our focus will be to provide institutional-grade solutions that bring greater liquidity, integrity, and transparency to support the evolution.”

Nasdaq says its custody solution will combine the best of hot and cold crypto wallets, which translates into accessibility for both trading and as well as staking. Nasdaq also emphasized the importance of scalability.

Ira Auerbach, SVP is the Head of Digital Assets. He joined two months ago from the Gemini exchange run by the Winkelvoss twins, where he spent almost five years and most recently led its prime brokerage. Before that, he was with Palantir Technologies.

The company was keen to emphasize its strong crypto-specific anti-money laundering solutions.

Apart from being known for its stock exchange, a significant proportion of Nasdaq’s revenues come from its marketplace technology business, where it licenses its technology to other exchanges. In early 2020 it announced it had adopted R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain for its solution for digital asset exchanges. Digital Asset integrated its DAML smart contract language with the offering.

Nasdaq has made various investments both in the crypto world and in the institutional sector. It recently participated in the funding round of crypto data firm Amberdata. It was an investor in enterprise blockchain firm Symbiont and is the first non-bank participant in Fnality, the institutional settlement platform that uses tokens backed by central bank money.

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