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Bringing digital ledger interoperability to Nasdaq Financial Framework through Microsoft Azure Blockchain

Posted on October 30, 2018

General Manager, Microsoft Azure

Nasdaq revolutionized financial markets in 1971 by opening them up to millions of individual investors with the world’s first-ever electronic stock exchange. Since then, the company’s innovative spirit has kept them on the leading edge of technology evolution in capital markets, while transforming the brand into a powerhouse technology provider.

Nasdaq’s commercial technology arm, Market Technology, powers mission-critical capital markets infrastructure at more than 100 exchanges, clearinghouses, and central securities depositories across 50 countries.

To better serve its global clientele, Nasdaq re-architected its enterprise offerings and released the Nasdaq Financial Framework (NFF) in 2016. The Framework’s modular design leverages a single operational core that powers a vast portfolio of business applications and services across the trading lifecycle, enabling Nasdaq customers to easily add, remove and amend their mission-critical technology stack without the cost and complexity associated with monolithic infrastructure systems.

NFF was designed also to take advantage of the benefits of emerging technologies to enable key strategic advantages for customers.

“Our [capital markets] industry is evolving faster than ever with the advent and advancement of cloud, blockchain, machine intelligence and others. Key players in the industry are looking to these technologies to explore how they can become more effective and efficient, but also gain competitive advantage,” says Magnus Haglind, Senior Vice President and Head of Product Management for Nasdaq’s market technology business.

To accelerate Nasdaq’s blockchain capabilities aligned with the industry’s rising demand, the company is integrating the Nasdaq Financial Framework with Microsoft Azure Blockchain to build a ledger agnostic blockchain capability that supports a multi-ledger strategy.

Nasdaq

Azure will deliver highly secure interoperation and communication between the Nasdaq Financial Framework core infrastructure, ecosystem middleware and customer technologies, using an innovative blockchain microservices suite to execute transactions and contracts.

 

These offerings create a sophisticated blockchain system that allow various technologies to work together in a secure, scalable way, and enable Nasdaq to meet their customer requirements across multiple projects.

Nasdaq sees immediate opportunity for blockchain to manage the delivery, payment, and settlement of transactions that may reside on multiple blockchains with different payment mechanisms. “With multiple blockchains in use by various industry participants, we believe that the combination of NFF and Microsoft’s blockchain technology can remove some of the project complexities that exist in this realm,” says Tom Fay, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at Nasdaq. “Additionally, as more industries move towards capital markets technology and structures, we see the potential for blockchain to provide value in secure, frictionless and instantaneous matching of buyers and sellers.”

These capabilities will also allow capital market organizations to use any NFF-based applications that incorporate blockchain technologies without the need for ledger-specific skills or knowledge, which is critical as the industry pursues new use cases for distributed ledger technology.

Fay continues, “from our perspective, Azure is unlocking the power of the blockchain while removing major complexities. Our NFF integration with their blockchain services provides a layer of abstraction, making our offering ledger-agnostic, secure, highly scalable, and ultimately helps us continue to explore a much broader range of customer use cases for blockchain. Delegating to Microsoft – as a best of breed enterprise-quality partner and leader in the blockchain space – to handle all of the semantics of ledger communication, security, deployment and orchestration, allows us to focus on customer challenges and solutions at scale, rather than expending resources on building components that fall outside our core business.”

At Microsoft, we are honored to partner with Nasdaq to evolve their innovative market-enabling technology. As the leading enterprise platform company, we are fundamentally committed to the success of our customers. We are excited to work with Nasdaq to apply cloud and blockchain technologies to industry problems that they deeply understand, and enable their continued success.