In December, Nasdaq pushed to the front of the race to commercialize the blockchain with the completion of a transaction using its Nasdaq Linq distributed ledger. The New Yorkbased exchange operator deployed the technology built in partnership with San Franciscobased Chain on Nasdaq Private Market, which allows private companies to raise capital and manage secondary transactions. The existing system was predominantly paper and spreadsheets, says chief information officer Bradley Peterson. The lack of legacy software allows us to iterate and move quickly, and we see a growing need in that area because of the number of high-quality companies that are remaining private, like Uber and Pinterest. Nasdaq bolstered Private Market, launched in 2014, with the October acquisition of competitor SecondMarket Solutions. Looking beyond the first transaction, Peterson, 56, envisions blockchain as a boon for settling public market transactions. Our systems have been optimized to be able to trade within microseconds, but then the full transfer of ownership can take three days, says Peterson, who was CIO at Charles Schwab Corp. before moving into the Nasdaq job in 2013. We think [settlement time] could be greatly reduced, which would free up a lot of capital in the system. Currently planning a blockchain clearing-and-settlement initiative with one of its customers, Nasdaq also is experimenting with a proxy voting application in Estonia. Along more-conventional lines of expansion, Nasdaq in December acquired the Chi-X Canada alternative trading system from New Yorkbased Chi-X Global and scored an extensive market technology deal with Borsa Istanbul that starts with equities and later will include other asset classes. You can run multiple asset classes on many of our platforms, Peterson notes. Cybersecurity continues to be a concern and an area of increased investment, the CIO adds. Im optimistic because a lot of companies are coming up with solutions that will give us much better protection against those trying to capitalize on todays weaknesses.
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