The NASDAQ OMX Group, which owns and operates the NASDAQ stock market and several european stock exchanges, will provide the technology behind the upcoming New York based Noble Markets LLC. (founded in 2014): a capital market designed to allow companies and investors to trade cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
Founder and CEO John Betts leads a Noble Markets team with experience at financial institutions like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and UBS.
Previously, Betts’ most well-known involvement in the digital currency community was as an investor and organizer behind the SaveGox.com campaign, He was also VP of strategy for Strevus, a regulatory compliance platform provider that added support for digital currency startups in 2014.
According to Betts, Noble seeks to leapfrog competitors in the market by providing much of the functionality they would otherwise build themselves. To elaborate, Betts suggested that Noble wouldn’t aim to compete against Bitcoin exchanges, but instead aim to provide them liquidity.
Betts explained to CoinDesk:
We’re not trying to fight for a slice of the pie, we’re building the venue where the large capital that exists in the capital markets and corporations that use these products as part of their business needs, where we can provide that liquidity to other exchanges. The goal is to create a larger pie.
Betts conceives Noble’s product as a bridge between the traditional financial and Bitcoin communities, saying that Noble aims to find “the best of both worlds” in terms of attracting these now disparate ecosystems.
In turn, Betts suggests that NASDAQ is eager to work with a partner in the Bitcoin space and that they are an active player in helping to forge the relationship.
Filling a business need
Betts contends that services that utilize Bitcoin but provide a more familiar experience to veterans of traditional financial backgrounds are vital to this goal of growing the size of the Bitcoin market.
That’s why Betts believes Noble will be best positioned to tackle this problem. The NASDAQ technology will use standard interfaces built on “20 years of intellectual property.”
“They [Bitcoin services] need counterparties that will provide the services they need to do business, and they have not had a counterparty that they’ve been able to trade Bitcoin with,” Betts added.
Betts continued by stating that Noble has built its own infrastructure that incorporates robust real-time risk management, consolidation and settlement capabilities.
Further, he suggested that any marketplace that wanted to convince larger players they could be responsible for customer assets would need these tools.
NASDAQ believes in innovation
Meanwhile, NASDAQ representatives have sought to define the announcement as one that positions the more than 40-year-old company as a supporter of “new and emerging technologies.”
Lars Ottersgård, NASDAQ’s executive vice president of market technology, affirmed that his company will continue to support Noble’s efforts to use NASDAQ technology in a new market.
We are thrilled to work with the experienced industry veterans at Noble Markets and look forward to supporting their cutting-edge, new endeavor for the long term in addressing the needs of the digital currency space.
Betts then said that his personal experience led him to believe major financial institutions are beginning to evolve their thinking about the larger Bitcoin ecosystem to the point where they’re eager to get involved with the technology.
While he believes Bitcoin provides a number of inherent advantages, Betts suggested that benefits by themselves are not enough, concluding:
To be able to leverage that, there are other products and services they need, and that’s part of the Noble Markets value proposition.
About Noble Markets
Noble Markets was co-founded by Brock Pierce (a veteran investor in the cryptocurrency world, digital market pioneer and Bitcoin Foundation Board member, Pierce also helped found GoCoin, Expresscoin, Blade Financial and ZenBox as well as being a former child actor who starred in the first two Mighty Ducks movies), Chris Betz (currently an advisor on Alpha Pipe Inc. as well, with a long trajectory in hedge fund management and financial markets) and CEO John Betts (a veteran of electronic trading platform development at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and UBS).
Pierce and Betts made the news in early 2014 when they offered to buy the defunct Mt. Gox for a single bitcoin in the name of a group of investors known as Sunlot Holdings, for which Betts also served as CEO. This offer was made as part of a class-action lawsuit, as Sunlot Holdings showed interest in reviving the market under new management.
In an interview with Bloomberg Business, when questioned about the rationale behind this move, Pierce admitted his interest was in part due to the exposure the trial would bring thanks to the prominent nature of the Mt. Gox debacle:
“This has been something that has gotten worldwide attention and coverage. Even my parents back in my town in South Africa heard about it on the local news…”
“It’s our belief that we can turn this negative coverage into something quite positive and constructive.”
Sunlot Holding’s publicity seeking stunt non-withstanding, their interest in Mt. Gox predated the fall of the market. The group had previously attempted to purchase shares of the company to no avail as well as offering to help expand the market to China.
The deal of course, fell through but that same year, Noble Markets LLC. was created. Although the company has kept a low profile until now, aside from CEO John Bett’s surprising invitation to the Satoshi Roundtable (a yearly private retreate for top figures and emerging players in the crypto currency world, limited to 50 members), NASDAQ’s support is clear to give them an edge in the digital assets world.
The X-Stream Technology
NASDAQ X-Stream trading technology will provide the backbone to the soon to be launched marketplace as well as marketing support for the startup. X-Stream powers more than 30 marketplaces across the globe but this would be the first time it’s implemented in a crypto-currency market. Noble Markets CEO, John Bett’s has expressed his hope that NASDAQ’s techonology will assuage future investor’s possible fears about cryptocurrency markets.
In an official press release by Noble Markets, Mr. Betts had this to say about the joint venture:
“Noble was founded on the principal of bringing credible market structure and institutional trading expertise to the digital currency marketplace. All customers demand a fair and orderly market, the best possible pricing and confidence trades will be completed efficiently. We are excited that Nasdaq shares our vision and commitment to support the development of this ground-breaking market. Our marketplace, powered by X-stream, allows us to leverage a proven and trusted venue that supports global trading worth billions of dollars reliably every day. We look forward to more exciting announcements over the comming months.”