Nasdaq’s Friedman outlines blockchain goals

Newly appointed CEO at Nasdaq, Adena Friedman, says blockchain will be big focus for exchange operator in 2017.

Nasdaq is to focus heavily on implementing blockchain technology in the New Year, according to the exchange’s newly appointed chief executive officer, Adena Friedman.

Speaking to CNBC, Friedman explained Nasdaq is both “an exchange operator and a global FinTech company, so the areas we are focused on are all around technology.”

She explained blockchain is of particular interest to the exchange group, which has already been working to implement it across other exchange markets and its own.

“We’ve been putting blockchain into and embedding it into technology we offer other exchanges, as well as experimenting with it in our own markets. We will continue to do that throughout the year,” she said.

When asked about the challenges of implementing blockchain ahead of the appointment of a new chairman at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US, Friedman predicted regulators will “get on board”.

“With blockchain, you have to be able to show a reduction of risk or benefit to the clients in terms of getting things done faster with more certainty,” she added.

Friedman - former chief operating officer at the exchange - took over the role as chief executive officer at Nasdaq this month, having joined Nasdaq in 1993 as an intern.

Speaking to The TRADE last year, Lars Ottersgård, head of market technology at Nasdaq, predicted 2017 will be ‘show me the money’ time for a lot of projects.

“In other words, next year will see - hopefully - plenty of implementations of the 2015/2016 innovation projects, particularly the very much publicised blockchain developments,” he said.