The chief executive officer of Nasdaq, Adena Friedman, discussed cryptocurrency and blockchain, among a number of subjects, in an interview with CNN. In the interview, Mrs. Friedman expressed bullish optimism for the future of cryptocurrency.
Nasdaq CEO Bullish on Cryptocurrency
In the interview with CNN, Mrs. Friedman offered optimism regarding the future of cryptocurrencies, stating “Do I think digital currency plays a role in the economy of the future, I think the answer is probably yes.” Mrs. Friedman added, “How it evolves and which of the cryptocurrencies may or may not be the one that ultimately gets embraced, I think that really the jury is still out on that.”
“But I do think the idea of a more globalized payments mechanism that’s more efficient than what we have today, that allows money to transfer cross country, and […] support[s] the internet economy,” said Mrs. Friedman. “It feels like it’s the right next step in the space of currency”
“It’s Virtual Cash, That’s the Great Thing About […] Cryptocurrencies” – Nasdaq CEO, Adena Friedman
Mrs. Friedman described bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as being highly amenable to contemporary settlement processes at all levels of society, stating “We pay all of our service providers through this electronic means of transferring cash, and we are fine with it. The whole world is changing around payments and it’s going to be fascinating to see where it goes.”
Despite her optimism, Mrs. Friedman emphasized regulatory uncertainty as comprising “the major issue” surrounding cryptocurrencies, stating “Are the governments going to start to embrace it, or are they still going to have it sit outside the realm of their oversight. That’s the real question.”
Positive Outlook for Blockchain
Regarding blockchain, Mrs. Friedman emphasized the opportunities for efficiency in the arenas of post-trade and settlement.
“If we can make the system more efficient by shortening settlement cycles, it takes a lot of risk out of system, and therefore it makes it so that the banks don’t have to be as capital intensive,” said Mrs. Friedman, adding that blockchain “creates a lot of incentive for everyone in the entire network to find a way to put this technology in place.”
Despite the opportunity for efficiency savings, Mrs. Friedman expects the mainstream markets to resist disruptive technological innovation, stating “in the established markets, there is a lot of embedded, older technology, that you really would have to rip out in order to be able to put this in […] Our view is that the first uses of the blockchain will be in less regulated markets, less efficient markets, more bespoke markets, test it out, show that it works, demonstrate the efficiency in the nasdaq private market, or the fund industry, […] or in […] smart-contracts. Show that it works, and then start to bring it up into the more regulated markets”
“I think the technology is a fascinating and very sound technology, its just a matter of making sure that the community is all embracing it together,” Mrs. Friedman concluded.
“Nasdaq Would Consider Becoming a Crypto Exchange Over Time”
In a recent interview with CNBC, Mrs. Friedman stated that Nasdaq is open to the prospect of offering cryptocurrency exchange services in the future.
“I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature,” Mrs. Friedman said. “Once you look at it and say, ‘do we want to provide a regulated market for this?’ Certainly, Nasdaq would consider it.”