Nasdaq CEO and president Adena Friedman recently stated that cryptocurrencies are at “the height of a hype cycle” but can become the “financial element of the internet” in an interview on Bloomberg Businessweek.
During a conversation that centered around how Nasdaq approaches disruptive technologies and instruments, Friedman emphasized that the group has taken a research-focused approach when determining if it should become involved in digital currencies. Friedman goes on to brand cryptocurrencies as a “speculative asset class” that does not yet have a role in international commerce.
Friedman speculates that as cryptocurrencies mature and develop permanency, they will more seamlessly integrate into the current financial system. She is uncertain as to whether one specific cryptocurrency will trailblaze that path to maturity but believes that over time, digital assets will stand as an established utility.
Nasdaq will become more involved within the industry, as to provide surveillance technologies and market information for certain undisclosed crypto exchanges, according to Friedman. A statement that was likely in reference to Nasdaq’s technology collaboration with Winklevoss-led Gemini, which gives the Gemini exchange access to Nasdaq’s investor surveillance and compliance technologies to help create a fairer marketplace for its users.
Blockchain was also a point of discussion during the interview, with Friedman stating that although the technology is scalable, it is not yet sufficient to support the high volume trading commonly seen on the Nasdaq. However, she is convinced that the technologies may assist in private markets where settlement cycles are typically much longer. With an optimism that blockchain technology could be integrated in the future, Friedman attests that over time, it may become an interesting force within her industry.
Friedman stated in April that traditional stock exchanges may adopt some form of cryptocurrency trading in the future, but only once federal regulators provide clear direction on how to treat the new asset class. In this statement, she emphasized that Nasdaq would consider launching its own crypto exchange when the time is right.
Friedman assumed the role of President and Chief Executive Officer of Nasdaq at the start of 2017, and is also a member of the Board of Directors.