The NYSE Could Become the World's Biggest Crypto and NFT Marketplace

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  • The NYSE put in a trademark application that could open the way for it to become a marketplace for NFTs and cryptocurrencies.
  • The application includes virtual reality and digital wallet software.

Could the NYSE become the financial exchange of the metaverse?

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) surprised crypto observers last week with a crypto and non-fungible token (NFT) trademark application. The documents, filed on Feb. 10, also include virtual reality and augmented reality products. This has sparked rumors that the NYSE, currently the biggest marketplace in the world for investors to buy and sell stocks, might have set its sights on the metaverse.

The NYSE's trademark application

This is not the NYSE's first foray into digital assets. Last year, it minted commemorative NFTs to celebrate six notable listings. These 10-second NFT videos mark the first trades of Spotify, Snowflake, Unity, DoorDash, Roblox, and Coupang. The leading stock exchange promised on its website that these would be the first of many.

NFTs encompass many different digital collectibles. They are essentially digital ownership certificates that are built into items like video clips, art, sports collectibles, music, and much more. According to Chainalysis, the total NFT market reached $41 billion in 2021.

Minting NFTs is one thing -- as we saw in this year's Super Bowl, almost every company worth its salt is getting in on the NFT game. But the NYSE's trademark application is something else entirely. It covers a range of potential crypto, digital asset, and NFT services. These include:

  • Online marketplace for NFTs, virtual goods, and digital assets
  • Online marketplace for digital currencies and tokens
  • Development and design of virtual retail stores
  • Various forms of downloadable virtual reality software
  • Software and interfaces to make payments and transfer funds
  • Software for digital crypto wallets and cryptocurrency storage

Given the size of the NYSE, if it does pursue the digital assets market, it's not much of a stretch to think it could become the world's biggest crypto exchange and NFT marketplace. However, that's still based on a very big "if."

What this means for crypto investors

Right now, not a lot. It's certainly another sign of how far cryptocurrency has come in terms of mainstream adoption and recognition. But it's also only a trademark application. The NYSE doesn't have immediate plans to launch a crypto or NFT product; it just wants to be prepared in case it ever decides to do so.

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The cryptocurrency and NFT markets are both still relatively new. And right now, the industry faces a big stumbling block in terms of regulation. On the one hand, organizations like the NYSE are more likely to get involved with the cryptocurrency industry if there's a solid regulatory framework in place. Appropriate regulation could build investor confidence and pave the way for increased institutional involvement.

The trouble is that the process of putting that framework in place could be a painful one. And if a lot of countries take a heavy-handed approach, it could take a big toll on this fledgling market. We know that increased regulation is on the way, but we don't yet know what shape it will take.

The NYSE's trademark filing is a nice piece of good news for a crypto market that's been struggling in recent months. But there are some tricky waters to navigate before we'll be able to buy NFTs from the NYSE in the metaverse.

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