Nasdaq, After Pivoting Crypto Ambitions to Tokenized T-bills, Sees Staffers Exit Amid Delays: Sources

BY Coindesk | TREASURY | 05/15/24 11:43 AM EDT By Ian Allison

Stalled or canceled cryptocurrency projects at Nasdaq ? including a previously unreported effort to tokenize U.S. Treasury bills ? have led to members of the exchange giant's digital assets team no longer working at the company, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

In July, Nasdaq announced it would stop trying to become a licensed custodian of crypto or digital assets, blaming regulatory uncertainty in the U.S.

It quietly shifted to the suddenly hot area of tokenizing T-bills, or creating blockchain-based versions of U.S. debt, according to a person familiar with the matter.

But some Nasdaq crypto team members are no longer at the company, according to people familiar with the matter. It's not clear how many left or the degree to which layoffs were involved. In some cases, they've joined companies that are expanding faster into crypto, whereas Nasdaq is purposefully taking its time deciding how to support the industry, one person said.

Nasdaq declined to comment on its tokenization plans or staff departures.

There has been a breathless rush to create blockchain-based versions of traditional financial assets. For instance, asset management giant BlackRock (BLK) has thrown its weight behind the trend with its BUIDL platform.

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Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

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