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Blockchain technology company Symbiont Inc just got $20 million from a series B funding round. Nasdaq Ventures led the round and is one of Nasdaq’s biggest move towards the crypto market yet.
Having led the rounds of the founding of the 2015 startup Symbiont, Nasdaq is joined by Raptor Group, Galaxy Digital, and Citi Ventures
Being the Anchor partner Nasdaq is expected to benefit from developing applications on Assembly, the enterprise blockchain solution on the smart contract platform. A recent report stated that Assembly provides its participants with an opportunity to enter the digital market by providing a superior infrastructure on which they can build the future of financial markets.
Gary Offner, Head of Nasdaq Ventures says its investments “help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world.”
“We are committed to discovering and investing in innovative technologies to help build our future market infrastructure used by more than 100 marketplaces around the world. Our investment will also include the integration of Symbiont’s enterprise blockchain and smart contract platform into the Nasdaq Financial Framework. We are pleased to support this important, growing area for creating unique institutional applications of blockchain technology.”
— Nasdaq Tech (@NasdaqTech) January 23, 2019
Nasdaq’s support for Symbiont shows Wall Street’s enthusiasm for the technology behind Bitcoin, which hasn’t completely cooled with the collapse in cryptocurrencies.
Nasdaq Ventures, an initiative of the exchange operator focused on investments in financial technology, is the lead investor in Symbiont’s series B funding round, according to a company statement on Wednesday. Other investors include Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd. and Raptor Group Holdings, an investment company backed by Jim Pallotta’s family office.
Smith said in an interview:
“We are entering a much more realistic phase where people look at this technology and think seriously about where it makes sense to apply it and where it doesn’t. We are leaving the peak of the hype cycle and entering the trough of disillusionment, especially for people who inappropriately applied this technology hoping it would become a panacea for solving all their problems.”
The company’s CEO Adena Friedman also spoke her mind stating that the firm might create a crypto exchange further down the road. It would become a reality if given the right regulatory framework. However, it might take some time. Meanwhile, the company moves forward and will launch trading with bitcoin futures during Q1 this year.
ESG Finally Gets the Deserved Acceptance
“We expect that investments and investment strategies focused on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals will continue to take hold across the global markets this year. The focus among investors and corporations on ESG is reaching a healthy and important state of maturity in Europe, but it is still just beginning its rise across North America, and is shooting some early sprouts of interest in Asia.
According to research from State Street Global Advisors more than two-thirds (68 percent) of institutional asset managers report that the integration of ESG has significantly improved their returns.”
She also added that it’s been more than a decade since Bitcoin took the world by storm. With several thousand competing cryptocurrencies vying for investor attention, the world of “crypto” has gone through the first phase of the classic invention lifecycle, marked by early pioneers, followed by hype, followed by proliferation of newcomers and then a dose of reality.
She suggested two of possible outcomes:
1) Either the innovation finds practical utility followed by years of steady and sustainable commercial progress and integration into the economic fabric (e.g., the Internet); or
2) The invention fails to achieve broad adoption and its commercial applications as medium of exchange are limited (e.g., the Segway).
Be it as it may it’s good to know that Symbiont has even developed a partnership with Vanguard, a frequent critic of cryptocurrencies, to provide a new approach to updating the data that fuels index funds. While several of its past partnerships have not worked out, Symbiont has forged ahead and has built exciting new opportunities for itself.
Symbiont may be the platform that many proponents of regulated tokenization are waiting for, and with hope, it will be able to change the landscape for the better. If Vanguard and Nasdaq like what the platform can offer, we may be closer to blockchain-based settlement and tokenization systems than most think.
Just for reminder, In December Nasdaq Ventures joined Fidelity in a $27.5 million round of funding for cryptocurrency exchange ErisX. The funding split was not revealed and though Nasdaq headlined the investment it does not appear to be lead funder. The Symbiont partnership could possibly be Nasdaq’s biggest financial commitment to the nascent cryptocurrency and blockchain sector yet.