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Nasdaq bets big on digital assets despite crypto turmoil

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Nasdaq Inc (NDAQ.O) is placing a big bet on the cryptocurrency market, with the launch of a digital assets business that is aimed at tapping institutional investors.

The new unit, Nasdaq Digital Assets, will offer custody services for cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, potentially pitting it against firms such as Coinbase (COIN.O), Fidelity Digital Assets and Winkelvoss twin-owned Gemini that offer similar products.

Nasdaq has hired Ira Auerbach, a Gemini executive, to lead the new unit.

The stock exchange has also expanded its anti-financial crime technology to detect and curb money laundering, fraud and market abuse risks, it said in a statement on Tuesday, as the market is constantly on the regulator’s radar.

The crypto market is reeling from a major rout, forcing some of its biggest players to lay off thousands of employees in a bid to cut costs. Bitcoin has crashed nearly 60 per cent this year, driving companies such as Celsius Network and Voyager Digital Ltd to file for bankruptcy.

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