Nasdaq Launches Digital Asset Division

Nasdaq is launching a digital asset group. Tal Cohen, chief executive of Nasdaq, said Ira Auerbach, former head of prime brokerage at Gemini crypto exchange, will lead the group. The new division will initially offer institutional investors Bitcoin and Ethereum custody services. 

She said they are on the verge of mass adoption of cryptocurrencies by institutional investors, so opening a division was a necessary step, and Nasdaq is the best place to do it. 

Tal Cohen added that at the moment, they have no plans to create a cryptocurrency exchange. However, Nasdaq will continue to evaluate this possibility in the future, considering the competition and legal regulations. 

Nasdaq has applied for digital asset custodian status with the New York State Financial Services Authority, a significant move that puts it in competition with crypto companies like Coinbase, Anchorage Digital, and BitGo. 

“Now we can start developing other solutions, offering liquidity services and thinking about how we support new markets,” Cohen said. 

Some financial companies, notably BNY Mellon and State Street, have begun providing similar services to their clients. However, a recent ruling by the Securities and Exchange Commission has made it more costly for financial companies to hold tokens. In other words, the SEC stopped banks from providing custodial services.

Despite the overall market downturn, Wall Street continues to delve deeper into the crypto market thanks to continued interest from its institutional investors. 

BlackRock recently partnered with Coinbase Global to make it easier for its clients to invest in bitcoin, while Charles Schwab, Fidelity Digital Assets, Citadel Securities, and Virtu Financial have teamed up to launch a new exchange, EDX Markets, due to start trading the token this year.

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