President & CEO of Nasdaq Adena Friedman, who was in the country for a tech partnership with the National Stock Exchange (NSE), sounded bullish on cryptocurrency over a breakfast meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday. The first woman CEO of a stock exchange and someone who has grown up hanging around the trading floor with her father said the concept of cryptocurrency was very interesting and that explained the over-enthusiasm about it.
To a question on what the future of cryptocurrency will be, Friedman said, “it’s very early in its life-cycle. Nobody really knows the future. But the concept is very interesting.’’ There’s a lot to work on and things have to evolve, according to her. In the US, for instance, the banking system doesn’t allow anonymity, she said to highlight the challenges. Recently in an interview, Friedman had indicated that Nasdaq could consider becoming a crypto exchange over time.
Friedman, who’s often said she never felt the strain of being a woman on the Wall Street as she’s known the finance world since childhood when her father was the chief investment officer at T Rowe Price, also spoke about making Nasdaq a destination for listing of Asian companies including those in India. “We are focused on that,’’ she said. Nasdaq officials did not elaborate on the Indian companies, including start-ups, engaged with Nasdaq at present for a likely listing. Only four Indian companies are listed on Nasdaq against more than 100 Chinese firms, Friedman said.
The fact that increasingly companies are tapping the private market has made listing a less attractive option, according to Friedman. She, however, did not comment on Vedanta Resources delisting from the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
When asked how policies under the Donald Trump administration had impacted the trading universe, Friedman said there has been “volatility all year round’’. Investors, according to her, take a sectoral view first and then go to company specifics. “That’s the story of the day…. I can’t say what the long-term effect would be.’’
Friedman, who wants Nasdaq to transform from just a stock exchange to a rounded company, providing technology to other exchanges around the world, wants to step up the collaboration with the NSE. But, she doesn’t rule out partnerships with others such as BSE in future, though NSE MD and CEO Vikram Limaye was quick to add that BSE recently got into another tech tie-up.