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

After ending its crypto custody plan, Nasdaq pivoted to tokenized U.S. Treasuries, but progress was too sluggish for some now-former employees, a person familiar with the matter said.

AccessTimeIconMay 15, 2024 at 3:43 p.m. UTC
Updated May 15, 2024 at 3:45 p.m. UTC

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.

  • Philippines Taps Blockchain
    Philippines Taps Blockchain
  • BlackRock CEO Predicts Tokenization Is the Future of Markets
    BlackRock CEO Predicts Tokenization Is the Future of Markets
  • Tokenization on Public Blockchains Democratizes Access: Securitize CEO
    Tokenization on Public Blockchains Democratizes Access: Securitize CEO
  • Bitcoin Bounces Back Above $20K
    Bitcoin Bounces Back Above $20K
  • 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 has thrown its weight behind the trend with its BUIDL platform.

    Edited by Nick Baker.


    Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

    CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

    Ian Allison

    Ian Allison is an award-winning senior reporter at CoinDesk. He holds ETH.