Nasdaq led a $20 million series B funding round for Symbiont, a smart contracts platform for institutional blockchain applications, last month, according to a statement by Symbiont.
The move is one of many Nasdaq has made into the blockchain space. Recently, Nasdaq partnered with Microsoft to build a ledger agnostic blockchain capability into the Nasdaq Financial Framework. The New York exchange operator is also expected to begin listing Bitcoin futures in the first quarter of 2019, despite the cryptocurrency's dramatic plunge over the last year.
These endeavors from Nasdaq show an optimistic, if cautious, outlook on the future of blockchain technology. The recent investment in Symbiont indicates the exchange operator's willingness to invest in blockchain startups that show promise. Rather than betting on individual cryptocurrenices, Nasdaq's partnerships and investments point toward a focus on commercial blockchain solutions.
"The world of 'crypto' has gone through the first phase of the classic invention lifecycle, marked by early pioneers, followed by hype, followed by proliferation of newcomers and then a dose of reality," said Adena Friedmand, Nasdaq's CEO in a LinkedIn post. "The extent of its impact will depend on the evolution of regulation and broader institutional adoption."
Symbiont's blockchain, Assembly, is a permissioned blockchain protocol built specifically for finance applications. It features smart contracts written in Symbiont's domain-specific language designed for financial applications.
Solutions that can be built upon Symbiont's technology include applications for secure mortgage platforms, cap table management, and distribution of index data among other financial applications.
Nasdaq's investment includes plans to integrate Symbiont's blockchain and smart contract platform into the Nasdaq Financial Framework.
"We are committed to discovering and investing in innovative technologies to help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world," said Gary Offner, Head of Nasdaq Ventures. "We are pleased to support this important, growing area for creating unique institutional applications of blockchain technology."
The Nasdaq Financial Framework consists of a single operational core that ties together Nasdaq's portfolio of business functionality across the trade lifecycle. It allows businesses in the financial space to integrate Nasdaq's business applications with each other and with other third-party applications.
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