A top executive at Nasdaq Inc. says they are seizing upon a large market demand with their plan to launch services for custody and execution of cryptocurrency.
Tal Cohen, Nasdaq’s executive vice president and head of North American Markets, says in a Bloomberg interview that the second largest stock exchange is focused on custody services as its first major step into the digital asset business.
“Today, we’re focused on custody. That’s foundational. We think if you can safely keep people’s assets they’ll trust you to do everything else afterward. So we’ll start with the foundational piece. We’ll build up from there. We’ll have execution capabilities because it’s not just the safekeeping, it’s the movement and transfer of those assets that we want to facilitate.”
He adds they will wait for regulatory clarification before discussing any possible launch of a crypto exchange.
“And then over time, as we have more regulatory clarity, and we see greater institutional adoption, those are discussions that we’re happy to have. But right now, on the retail side, the market is fairly saturated. There are a number of exchanges servicing the retail customer base. I think our focus is on where the demand is and where the opportunity is. And we think it’s just massive on the custody side and the execution side.”
Cohen says they will also look at how to take advantage of blockchain data capabilities.
“There’s a lot of content, a lot of data that the blockchain provides, so we’ll look at opportunities to create derived data products and other value that enhances the transparency and the liquidity and the interaction that customers have with that market.”
Cohen believes that Nasdaq’s entrance into custody services will accelerate institutional adoption of cryptocurrency.
“The custody and the execution side are so attractive to us. That’s where our focus is. That’s where we think we can really add value and accelerate institutional adoption, which from our perspective, has still been strong even through this downturn.”
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