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NASDAQ Records First Blockchain-Based Transaction

While the financial world may be years out from making blockchain-based transactions on a mass-scale level, NASDAQ took a major step this week by making the first securities transaction using its blockchain-based platform.

The platform, which is called Linq, was recorded yesterday (Dec. 30) — making a new milestone for blockchain technology in the mainstream financial system.

In May, NASDAQ announced its plans to leverage blockchain technology as part of an enterprise-wide initiative. NASDAQ isn’t necessarily after bitcoin, but it is looking to use the tech behind the digital currency. Bob Greifeld, the CEO of NASDAQ, told Financial Times at the time the group plans to determine how the blockchain could be used to change how trading is done, which could drastically change the speed of how the markets are ran.

“Utilizing the blockchain is a natural digital evolution for managing physical securities,” Greifeld said earlier this month. “Once you cut the apron strings of need for the physical, the opportunities we can envision blockchain providing stand to benefit not only our clients, but the broader global capital markets. … Our initial application of NASDAQ’s blockchain technology-enabled offering will modernize, streamline and secure typically cumbersome administrative functions, and will simplify the overwhelming challenges private companies face with manual ledger record-keeping.”

The blockchain network could change how long it takes to finalize deals on U.S. securities markets, he noted, and it could also be used to change how the financial industry as a whole handles transactions. This could help reduce trading settlement times and ensure money is transacted between networks quicker.

“I am a big believer in the ability of blockchain technology to effect fundamental change in the infrastructure of the financial services industry. Clearing houses are a wonderful invention, but if you have a public ledger that is trusted, you can evolve back to a bilateral [trading] world but proceed with instantaneous settlement,” Greifeld told Financial Times.

NASDAQ, however, isn’t the only one in the financial market looking to use the blockchain technology as the New York Stock Exchange has also expressed interest in the technology — going as far as becoming an investor in bitcoin exchange Coinbase.

Linq’s, a platform that is designed to be used by private companies for the issuance of debt and securities transactions, first was done using the blockchain startup Chain. NASDAQ had been part of a group that invested $30 million in Chain in the fall. Other major players in the group include Visa, Citi Ventures and Capital One.

NASDAQ’s blockchain-based platform is now officially live, and it can be used for private companies. Companies who have signed up also include ChangeTip and PeerNova.

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