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Exchange operator Nasdaq is looking to invest in blockchain startups as part of a new venture initiative.

Nasdaq Ventures, announced today, has set its sight on investing in companies that work with blockchain, as well as firms focused on artificial intelligence, next-generation data analysis and machine learning. The firm will invest as much as $10m in relevant startups, focusing on both seed-stage and late-stage placements.

The effort is perhaps a natural extension of the exchange operator's work in the blockchain space. In mid-2015, Nasdaq partnered with blockchain startup Chain in an effort that saw the two jointly develop a distributed ledger market focused on pre-IPO offerings.

Adena Friedman, president and CEO of Nasdaq, said in a statement:

"With the launch of our new venture investment program, we are reinforcing our focus on driving growth and innovation by evaluating, distributing, licensing and integrating disruptive technologies for the long-term benefit of our global clients."

The operator has been testing blockchain elsewhere as well.

In February 2016, Nasdaq revealed it was testing a blockchain e-voting prototype with Estonia's sole securities exchange. Further, in January, Nasdaq released a report outlining that, in its view, the trial "successfully demonstrated" why it believes blockchain use cases will extend beyond transaction settlement.

Image Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com

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