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Nasdaq CEO: ‘Digital Currencies Have a Role in the Future’

Nasdaq CEO, Adena Friedman, has expressed the view that digital currencies are here to stay and will play a role in the future.

Friedman published a post on LinkedIn on Sunday titled ‘New chapters in innovation and disruption will be written in 2019’.  She pointed out that she was writing the piece in anticipation of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland – which commenced today an in which she will be participating in.

The theme of this year’s event is Globalization 4.0 – a consideration of how both private and public sectors can collaborate to effect a more equitable, stable and transparent world.  In her writings, Friedman identifies a number of trends that she suspects will continue to emerge and grow in 2019 – in line with the subject area to be discussed at Davos.

She cites the continued development of environmental, social and governance (ESG) focused investments and investment strategies as a noteworthy development in 2019.  Additionally, the public listing of several tech unicorns, investment in space exploration and increased adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) based tech make her list of emerging trends.

Of most interest to the crypto community is her consideration of cryptocurrency as a trend which has emerged and one she feels will develop much further in 2019.  She clarifies that cryptocurrency has gone through the classic initial phase distinguished by early pioneers.  This in turn gave way to hype, the generation of a wave of interest followed by the sobering up of the sector via 2018’s bear market.

Friedman believes that there are two potential outcomes for cryptocurrency at this point.  The first possibility is that it achieves utility following years of steady and sustainable growth – integrating into the economy as it does so.  The alternative is that it simply doesn’t achieve broad adoption.

“It is difficult to ignore the huge amount that investors, including some of the most sophisticated global investors, have poured into digital currencies in recent years”, she said.

Friedman lauds the invention as a “tremendous demonstration of genius and creativity” and that it “deserves an opportunity to find a sustainable future in [our] economy”.  The Nasdaq CEO is of the view that governance and regulatory clarity are two aspects which are imperative in establishing the utility of crypto and achieving more stable values.

It’s expected that Nasdaq will launch a Bitcoin futures product within the first quarter of 2019.  It also emerged last month that Nasdaq – alongside Fidelity Investments – had invested heavily in crypto startup, ErisX.  ErisX is an intermediary friendly, CFTC regulated futures exchange.  Cryptocurrency exchange Gemini has also partnered with Nasdaq.  It has deployed Nasdaq’s SMARTS market surveillance to assist the company in remaining a ‘rules based marketplace for all market participants’.

Friedman cites Nasdaq’s recent involvement with ErisX as a collaboration that is helping cryptocurrencies gain the trust of investors.

She concludes by stating that she is convinced that 2019 will be a proving ground for cryptocurrency:

“We believe digital currencies will have a role in the future.  The extent of its impact will depend on the evolution of regulation and broader institutional adoption.”

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