The operators of the Nasdaq, the second-largest stock exchange in the world, have added a new index to their bustling platform that notably tracks cryptoeconomy and decentralized finance (DeFi) natives like Augur and MakerDAO.
That index, dubbed DeFiX, is backed by the international brokerage brand Exante and now available on the NASDAQ through the ticker symbol DEFX — short for Decentralized Finance Index.
According to Nasdaq, the offering is the “first altcoin index that reflects the dynamics of the most promising blockchain projects working in decentralized finance.”
Specifically, the projects initially being tracked by the index include 0x (ZRX), Maker (MKR), Augur (REP), Gnosis (GNO), Numerai (NMR), and Amoveo (VEO). 0x is a permissionless exchange protocol; Maker backs the popular Dai stablecoin; Numerai is a crowdsourced hedge fund; and Augur, Gnosis, and Amoveo have prediction market offerings.
The DEFX listing is only the latest cryptocurrency-centric embrace the Nasdaq has made so far in 2019. Back in February, the powerhouse exchange listed the Bitcoin Liquid Index and the Ethereum Liquid Index to help traders track the prices of bitcoin and ether.
A short time later, the platform listed the XRP Liquid Index (XRPLX), and a few weeks after those listings Nasdaq partnered with CryptoCompare to create the Nasdaq/CryptoCompare Aggregate Crypto Reference Prices tracker, which provides “minute-by-minute pricing data for the most liquid cryptocurrency markets.”
For its part, Exante has been involved with the cryptoeconomy since 2012, when the firm launched its inaugural bitcoin fund — a fund the company says has made returns exceeding 70,000 percent to date. Before DeFiX, Exante last launched its XAI Fund in 2017. The offering gave investors a means to invest in a portfolio of top altcoin projects like Ethereum and Monero.
Nasdaq Poised to Make Further Inroads in the Space
Nasdaq seems to increasingly have crypto on the brain.
In November 2017, reporting broke that the stock exchange giant was planning on launching a bitcoin futures product by the end of 2018. That never ended up happening, though it was later confirmed by investment management firm VanEck that Nasdaq was working to launch the futures product in the first half of 2019.
That launch also passed with no release, though it seems the exchange is just taking its time rather than rushing the product out. As company chief executive officer Adena Friedman explained last January:
“We are continuing to investigate the idea of […] cryptocurrency futures with a partner and we continue to look at the risk management around that, making sure we are putting the right protocols in place, making sure there’s proper demand, and that the contract is different from what’s already out there.”
Last spring, Friedman even went so far as to say Nasdaq “would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time.” And if it doesn’t become one, the platform at least plans to work with them. The company allegedly spearheaded a meeting last summer with six popular cryptocurrency exchanges, with the theme of the meeting being about helping these trading venues mature.
Moreover, the platform’s venture arm Nasdaq Ventures participated in the $27.5 million Series B funding round of ErisX, a platform set to be a competitor to Bakkt and Fidelity Digital Assets.
Coinbase Makes Its Own DeFi Move
In somewhat related news, Coinbase announced its new Coinbase USDC Bootstrap Fund on September 10th.
“The Fund will support developers building DeFi protocols by investing USDC directly in the protocol,” the exchange said.
With the announcement came the reveal of the fund’s first two investments, which were $1 million USDC to “money lego” money market protocol Compound and $1 million USDC to margin trading protocol dYdX. Both platforms are currently among the top 5 most popular DeFi projects according to tracker site DeFi Pulse.