Nasdaq Explores Storing Asset Data on Blockchain

Stock exchange operator Nasdaq filed a patent outlining how to store asset ownership data on a blockchain.

AccessTimeIconNov 17, 2017 at 8:10 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:10 a.m. UTC

Global stock exchange operator Nasdaq is looking into storing asset ownership data on a blockchain.

In a patent application recently released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the company outlines how it could use a distributed ledger to record who owns an asset, as well as use digital wallets to allow owners to access these assets.

According to the application:

“Information regarding the ownership of particular assets (e.g., shares in a company, etc.) are stored in a blockchain, and various data processing operations (referred to below as "application processing") are performed using this ownership information.”

The application notes each block’s cryptographic hash value as an attractive feature, stating that the fact that a blockchain cannot be modified by malicious actors acts as an effective security function in protecting asset ownership data.

The fact that users can maintain privacy even with a public blockchain only adds to the technology’s attractiveness, according to the application.

Nasdaq would commit to a distributed network where each node would contain a copy of of the blockchain’s information, according to the application.

Nasdaq is looking into distributed ledgers to store ownership information, but are not necessarily committing to the technology.

The application states that “while distributed ledger technologies such as blockchain show great potential, further improvements in the performance, efficiency, and capabilities of such technologies are needed.”

The stock exchange has expressed concerns about blockchain technology before. Earlier this month, Gustaf von Boisman, Nasdaq Clearing’s head of product development, said the technology cannot be immediately implemented into their existing systems.

At the time, Boisman said the issues revolved around integrating blockchain-based systems with other financial systems.

Nasdaq image via Sorbis / Shutterstock

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