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Nasdaq suspends plans to launch crypto custody services

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Nasdaq is suspending its plans to float the crypto-storage business, CEO Adena Friedman said during the company’s earnings call on Wednesday.

“Given the changing business and regulatory environment in the U.S., we have made the decision to discontinue the launch of the U.S. digital asset preservation business and related licensing efforts,” she said. “However, we continue to build and deliver technology capabilities that position Nasdaq as a leading provider of digital asset software solutions to the broader global industry.”

Nasdaq still provides a listing of companies Coinbase and filed for recent Bitcoin ETF filings from BlackRock and others.

“More broadly, we remain committed to supporting the evolution of the digital asset ecosystem in a variety of ways, including through our ongoing engagement with regulators, providing end-to-end technology solutions throughout the trading lifecycle, and through our partnerships with potential ETF issuers to support exchange-traded products,” Friedman added.

The exchange operator first revealed plans to develop a custody solution in September alongside the creation of its crypto business, Nasdaq Digital Assets. It is expected to launch in the second quarter of this year pending approval from the New York Department of Financial Services.

Crypto’s custody issue is seen among institutions as key to pushing the industry into the mainstream in a post-FTX world. Efforts have been made this year to create new solutions that separate the trading and storage functions of crypto exchanges.

Nasdaq’s pause was a bit of a letdown for those who had been buoyed recently by the momentum surrounding spot bitcoin ETFs by BlackRock and other institutions, as well as the recent court ruling in the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple. Investors and other market participants had hoped that some of the regulatory pressure that had weighed on the industry since the start of the year had been lifted, and that the introduction of regulated products to the market could bring some clarity.

Meanwhile, Societe General’s crypto unit received approval from France’s financial regulator on Wednesday to offer crypto services, including crypto storage. This raises concerns that the US could lose its crypto edge as its regulators continue to crack down on the industry and other jurisdictions follow suit.

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