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Nasdaq experiments with the Bitcoin blockchain

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Nasdaq announced on Monday that it’s launching an “enterprise-wide initiative” to use the blockchain—the distributed ledger that makes Bitcoin possible.

The first application will be as a service for privately-held companies to allow their shareholders to buy and sell shares on a system based on the blockchain. Instead of the transactions being recorded in the separate ledgers of various lawyers, Nasdaq CIO Brad Peterson says transactions will be recorded in a form that anyone in the market can see. 

“The best argument against using the Bitcoin blockchain is that it’s new,” says Jim Harper, senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “It’s only been around for a few years and hasn’t had the real testing that it probably needs.” 

Harper says the Nasdaq experiment could be just such a test.

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