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NASDAQ Prepares to Launch Cryptocurrency Custody Business

NASDAQ Inc., a global exchange, intends to begin offering custody services for Ether and Bitcoin within the next three months. Ira Auerbach, who formally worked at Gemini as its global head, will be in charge of the new business. In September, NASDAQ announced that it would enter the market for digital assets, joining other well-known financial companies such as BNP Paribas and Fidelity in providing custody services for cryptocurrency.

The company has prior knowledge of the cryptocurrency market, with several cryptocurrency exchanges having received market surveillance technologies from the group. It announced the Hashdex NASDAQ Crypto Index ETFs in Q1 2021. The company is currently working to finalize the technical infrastructure and secure all necessary regulatory approvals.

NASDAQ requested a limited-purpose trust company charter from the New York Department of Financial Services for custodial services. The company intends to ultimately provide the group’s digital assets division with a full range of services, including execution for banking institutions.

The exchange’s entry into the cryptocurrency market would depart from its core competency of trading stocks and bonds. It would also aid in filling the void in cryptocurrency custody services left by FTX’s demise last year.

Meanwhile, a few conventional financial companies are expanding their cryptocurrency offerings. BNY Melon introduced its new platform for the custody of digital assets in Q4 2022. In addition, the French financial behemoth BNP Paribas entered the custody fray in 2022 by agreeing to a partnership with Metaco, a Swiss digital asset safekeeping company.

NASDAQ stated last year that its goals for its digital assets division are to support and advance greater institutional participation as well as play a key role in addressing the growing threat of financial fraud in the cryptocurrency space. To that end, the business announced that it was incorporating digital assets into its antifraud crime technology. NASDAQ anticipated bringing a set of crypto-oriented detection abilities with its Surveillance and Verafin products to effectively reduce risks and provide ongoing monitoring of fraud detection, market abuse and money laundering.

The launch date of NASDAQ’s custody service comes at a time when the Securities and Exchange Commission is committed to closely monitoring custodians of cryptocurrency assets. The regulator is actively taking action against the industry and has issued a warning to investors about a high risk of loss. It also issued a warning to companies offering digital assets without adhering to the current securities laws.

As more institutional players such as NASDAQ join in blockchain and crypto space, the resultant awareness coming from their entry could have a beneficial effect upon the trajectory of existing industry actors such as Riot Blockchain Inc. (NASDAQ: RIOT) since the public will be more accepting of these new technologies.

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