Symbiont, the company which is leading a $20 million Series B round of funding in blockchain capital market technology can be considered as Nasdaq’s biggest crypto play to date. This came after Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman provided further clues regarding Nasdaq’s commitment to cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption in this week. This might also mean Nasdaq would be creating a platform that would issue and trade tokenized securities.
Nasdaq Ventures led the round of funding to 2015 blockchain startup Symbiont and has been joined by Citi Ventures, Galaxy Digital, and Raptor Group as well.
Symbiont described Nasdaq as an “anchor partner” and they would benefit by developing applications on their “Assembly” enterprise blockchain and smart contract platform. A recent release said– “Assembly provides the opportunity to new participants in entering the digital asset market and also offers the existing participants a superior infrastructure upon which they could build the future of financial markets.”
Nasdaq would use this platform to “explore new business opportunities” with clients who would be looking out for smart contract and tokenization solutions.
Gary Offner, the Head of Nasdaq Ventures said that their investments “help build the future market infrastructure that is used by more than 100 marketplaces all over the world. It will support a “unique institutional” application of blockchain and would include Symbiont’s enterprise blockchain and smart contract platform integration to the Nasdaq Financial Framework.
The Symbiont and Nasdaq collaboration can be seen as Nasdaq’s quick move in creating tokenized securities for their clients as well as for trading.
The co-founder and CEO of Symbiont, Mark Smith’s comments hinted at their future plans. He said that the investment will be a “huge opportunity to be able to go all over the globe with Nasdaq.” It will also provide ways to “buy and transact new types of instruments” with the help of Symbiont’s smart contract technology.
In the month of December, Nasdaq Ventures joined Fidelity in a $27.5 million round of funding for a cryptocurrency exchange named ErisX. The funding split hasn’t been revealed but Nasdaq headlined the investment but looks like they are not the lead funders. The Symbiont partnership might be Nasdaq’s biggest financial commitment to the nascent cryptocurrency and blockchain sector as of now. In addition to this, there are rumors that Nasdaq would make a move to securities token offerings as well. Nasdaq has been seen working with VanEck on bringing many bitcoin-based futures to the US market in as early as 2019. There has been a delay in these plans since Nasdaq and VanEck have been busy negotiating the aspect with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC has felt that the effects of the partial US federal government shutdown.
In July 2018, when Nasdaq was working on implementing their technology into several cryptocurrency exchanges, they held closed-door talks wherein it was apparently a discussion about the future of cryptocurrency. CEO Adena Friedman said that she believes that cryptocurrency would be the “right next step” for currency.
Friedman provided further clues about Nasdaq’s commitment to cryptocurrency. She said- “The invention itself is a tremendous demonstration of the geniuses and creativity, and I feel like it deserves an opportunity to find a sustainable future in our economy. I believe that digital currencies will have a “role in the future. For example- Nasdaq’s technology will soon be seen offering crypto players and its investment ErisX. At Nasdaq, we have been working very hard to help cryptocurrencies gain back investors’ lost trust.”
In April 2018, Friedman was asked whether or not Nasdaq had its own direct plans for a cryptocurrency exchange. The CEO said that cryptocurrency has remained an “unregulated space” and added- “Nasdaq will consider becoming a crypto exchange, over the time.”
From this response, it can be speculated that a Nasdaq platform for tokenized securities might be on its way. And it might progress its way into a cryptocurrency exchange, at some point in time.