Nasdaq to offer crypto custody via new Digital Assets unit

Nasdaq Inc. is getting into the cryptocurrency space proper with a brand new digital assets unit targeting institutional investors, Tal Cohen, the firm’s Executive VP and Head of North American Markets said in an interview on Tuesday.

According to Cohen, Nasdaq has since 2021 looked to understand how best to increase institutional adoption of digital assets. 

And as part of their deep-dive into this, the stock exchange engaged crypto companies or platforms seeking to get in, with the goal of understanding pain points for institutional investors.

Nasdaq among Wall Street giant in crypto

The Nasdaq Digital Assets is a dedicated division whose development builds on the input and insight gathered from players within crypto and big-money investors who see the exchange as a trusted platform.

Initially, Nasdaq will only offer crypto custody services to clients, with services available for the top two cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Future plans include extending the solution to liquidity provision and other key services to both traditional exchange clients and new markets, Cohen noted.

In the short term we want to continue to bring in great people to help us build this business,” the Nasdaq EVP said in reference to the company’s long term and short term outlook for digital assets. He added:

“We want to complete the build-out of our custody and liquidity solution. We are going to continue to work with the New York DFS to obtain that Trust license and will also engage potential clients as we head towards launch.”

Nasdaq is launching its Digital Assets division at a time when some of Wall Street’s largest companies are looking to provide more access to crypto to their clients.

Just recently, investment giant BlackRock announced a partnership with Coinbase to bring Bitcoin trading to its clients. And as we reported last week, Fidelity, Charles Schwab and Citadel Securities are among several Wall Street firms to launch a new crypto exchange dubbed EDX Markets.

As for its crypto custodian venture, Nasdaq Digital Assets will compete with financial companies such as State Street and BNY Mellon. In crypto, Anchorage Digital, Coinbase, and BitGo are some of the well-established custody providers.

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