CEO Adena Friedman says that Nasdaq would consider exchanging digital currencies, but regulation remains a roadblock.
In what is being viewed as a huge boost for the cryptocurrency industry, CEO of Nasdaq Adena Friedman has said that once the space matures, the company is open to becoming a platform for trading digital currencies like Bitcoin.
“Certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time,” Friedman told CNBC’s Squawk Box Wednesday. “I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist. It’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature.”
Yet while Friedman was optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies, she was less so on the fundraising process known as an initial coin offering, or ICO.
“ICOs need to be regulated,” she said. “The SEC is right that those are securities and need to be regulated as such.”
In fact, regulation appears to be the main stumbling block for cryptocurrencies to gain wider acceptance.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said in March it is looking to apply securities laws to everything from cryptocurrency exchanges to digital asset storage companies known as wallets. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said the watchdog is devoting a “significant portion of resources” to the ICO market.
Bitcoin neared $20,000 in December before having its worst first quarter in history, dropping 48 percent in the first three months of this year. The cryptocurrency has recovered above $9,000 this week, and hit a high of $9,746.82 Wednesday, according to CoinDesk.
On Wednesday, Nasdaq announced a collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, founded by early bitcoin investors Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.
The deal gives Gemini access to Nasdaq’s surveillance technology to help make sure the platform provides a fair and “rules-based marketplace,” for their own participants, Gemini CEO Tyler Winklevoss said in a statement.