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Nasdaq joins investment round in French blockchain startup Stratumn

By Anna
Irrera
| NEW YORK, June 8

NEW YORK, June 8 U.S. exchange group
Nasdaq Inc has joined a 7 million-euro ($7.9 million)
investment round in Stratumn, which helps companies develop
applications using blockchain technology, the Paris-based
startup said on Thursday.

The investment was led by Open CNP, the corporate venture arm
of French insurer CNP Assurance SA, with participation from the
Digital Currency Group and existing investor Otium Venture,
Stratumn said.

Stratumn, which employs 15 people, said it will use the funding
to develop its technology and double the size of its team by
the end of 2018.

“Our new investors will enable Stratumn to continue and
accelerate its development and more effectively address growing
needs in our markets,” Richard Caetano, co-founder and chief
executive of Stratumn, said in a statement.

The company said it has already developed projects with large
companies including CNP Assurances, Allianz France, Nasdaq, and
Thales SA.

Large companies, including banks and market infrastructure
providers, have ramped up investments in blockchain over the
past year in the hopes of slashing costs associated with some
of their most cumbersome processes, such as securities
settlement and international payments.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system underpinning
cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared ledger of transactions that
is maintained by a network of computers on the internet, rather
than a centralized authority.

Proponents of the nascent technology say it offers a more
secure and transparent way to record large amounts of data.

Skeptics have warned the technology is still in its early days
and may need several more years before it can be deployed on a
large scale.

As part of the deal, Stratumn and Nasdaq have also entered a
partnership to conduct joint research and development
activities on blockchain applications in capital markets, the
companies said.

Nasdaq declined to comment on how much it has invested in
Stratumn.

Nasdaq was one of the earliest supporters of the technology
among large financial institutions.

In May 2015 it announced it would use the technology to operate
its market for shares of private companies and a few months
later backed San Francisco-based blockchain startup Chain.

The group is also looking to sell blockchain-based systems
through its division that provides trading technology to
exchanges and clearing houses globally.

“An investment in Stratumn was a natural development for us
given the experimentation projects we have successfully
executed with Richard and his team over the past year,”
Jean-Jacques Louis, Nasdaq head of corporate strategy, said in
a statement. ($1 = 0.8911 euro) (Editing by Matthew Lewis)


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