Nasdaq Holds Secret Meeting With Crypto Players to Discuss Legitimizing Cryptocurrencies

Francisco Memoria
  • The world's second-largest stock exchange, Nasdaq, held a secret meeting to discuss legitimizing cryptocurrencies.
  • In the meeting, industry players and Wall Street firms discussed how to bolster bitcoin's reputation.

Nasdaq, the world’s second-largest stock exchange, recently held a closed-door meeting with players from the cryptocurrency ecosystem and Wall Street to discuss legitimizing cryptocurrencies.

As first reported by Bloomberg, the secret meeting in Chicago saw industry representatives and Wall Street firms discuss the implication of cryptocurrency regulations, and what tools the industry needs to use to improve security and bolster the reputation of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Citing an unnamed source, Bloomberg revealed cryptocurrency exchange Gemini was at the meeting. Notably, its founder Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss were behind the latest failed attempt to list a bitcoin ETF on a regulated stock exchange.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rejected the Winklevoss’ bitcoin ETF bid citing concerns over the underlying bitcoin spot markets, as it claims these are too prone to manipulation. As CryptoGlobe covered, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) launched a criminal probe into potential BTC price manipulation earlier this year.

Nasdaq has earlier this year revealed it’s helping various cryptocurrency exchanges use its market surveillance technology to curb potential money laundering and other illicit activities. The exchange has revealed it “would consider becoming a crypto exchange,” as its CEO Adena Friedman believes “digital currencies will continue to persist.”

As covered, Friedman also revealed she sees cryptocurrencies as “the right next step in the space of currency,” although it’s still unclear whether it’ll be bitcoin or another crypto being the first to reach mainstream adoption. She said:

How it evolves and which of the cryptocurrencies may or may not be the one that ultimately gets embraced, I think that really the jury is still out on that.

Adena Friedman

The CEO added she thinks “the idea of a more globalized payment mechanism that is more efficient than what we have today allows for money to transfer across countries” and supports an internet-based economy.

The world’s second-largest exchange is believed to be “in the early stages” of developing a bitcoin futures product that’s set to let institutional investors bet on the market in the long-term. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), which added BTC futures late last year, saw their volume grow 93% in the second quarter of this year.

Despite her stance on cryptocurrencies, Friedman is known for criticizing the unregulated nature of initial coin offerings (ICOs), which according to her take advantage of the lack of oversight.

BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

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