Interview: Nasdaq's Hans Ole Jochumsen on Blockchain Initiative in Estonia

Focus March 2016

Focus March 2016 Interview

On February 12, Nasdaq and the Republic of Estonia announced that Estonia’s e-Residency platform will be facilitating a blockchain-based e-voting service to allow shareholders of companies listed on Nasdaq’s Tallinn Stock Exchange, Estonia’s only regulated securities market, to vote in shareholder meetings.

The country’s e-Residency platform is an electronic identity system used by both Estonian residents and those with business interests in the country to access government services through e-Residency digital authentication.

As part of the program’s pilot, shareholders who are Estonian or Estonian e-residents will be able to participate in the corporate governance of companies more conveniently and securely than ever before. The e-Residency platform vastly improves the ability to authenticate shareholders for the e-voting service, while blockchain technology will allow votes to be quickly and securely recorded, streamlining a proxy voting process that has historically been labour-intensive and fragmented. The pilot is aimed to launch in 2016

The program marks the second official blockchain project Nasdaq is executing on after successfully delivering the first private securities issuance between an investor and company via Nasdaq Linq, its blockchain-enabled platform. Below is an excerpt from the interview for the World Federation of Exchanges publication, "Focus".

WFE: The Estonian e-Residency initiative is a very novel blockchain application – how did Nasdaq get involved and how did the concept originate?

Hans Ole Jochumsen: Our work and research within blockchain comes in many forms, whether it is our Private Market in the U.S., to our recent work in Estonia. Specifically for Estonia, we saw some basic reasons:

a. Estonia, from a public sector perspective, is keen to be on the forefront of innovation, and the size of their market makes them nimble

b. We own the Estonia Tallin stock exchange, Estonia’s only regulated securities market, and Estonia’s CSD and register business, where we offer listed companies proxy voting in the old way.

These factors allow us to move quickly.

WFE: Are there any other countries or organizations gearing up to use this Nasdaq-developed blockchain application?

Hans Ole Jochumsen: We remain focused on developing and proving that this will work in Estonia. As the situation develops, we will consider additional areas to focus on. European legislation concerning e-voting and secure IDs is something we will pay close attention to.

To download the entire article from the World Federation of Exchanges, please follow this link >

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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