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NASD to Open Attention Exchange
September 2, 2016

NEW YORK--Representatives of the National Association of Securities Dealers unveiled on Friday plans for a nationwide, electronic exchange specializing in the sale, bundling, tranching and swapping of attention and attention-based derivative instruments. "We're very excited about the possibilities of the attention market," notes NASD Executive Director Francine Yenk. "The [exchange] will enable real-time trading on multiple scales and will introduce to the attention market unprecedented regularity and liquidity."

The new exchange, dubbed 'AX' and scheduled to open for trading early next year, will initially focus on institutional block-trading of multiple grades of conventional consumer attention. "One of the key features of a regularized commodity market is convergence on a few consistent standards for description of the underlying commodity," explains Joliet Gagnrenee, Chair of the NASD Standing Committee on Market Science. "Attention is a highly variable commodity, so, in order to clarify the market, we'll initially be supporting trading in three grades based on familiar touchstones: Iowa Car Dealership Commercial, Must See TV, and Rubberneck."

Though traditionally attention-based institutions are expected to account for the majority of trading volume, the NASD anticipates an 18-24 month follow-on development of business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer transactions. "We are set up to handle large trades among traditional players: newspapers, TV and movie studios, web publishers," notes NASD's Yenk. "But we've also built in the capacity to handle a much deeper, more fine-grained market."

In conjunction with the unveiling of AX, the NASD also outlined plans for a sub-exchange that would be part of the AX system but is designed to serve consumer and retail traders. "We call it the Short Attention Span Exchange, or SASE," explains Yenk. "And it's designed to handle a couple of key transactions, chief among them the ability of users to equitably trade attention with each other."

Aimed at amateur publishers and other small-scale attention seekers, SASE will enable retail-level traders to purchase high-grade attention in bundled units as small as 100 minutes. "This is sure to be a boon to start-up publishers that are in the early stages of defining an audience," opines Roberto Manchego, Assistant Director of the Association of American Small Presses. "It takes a lot of the opacity out of the publicity process and is sure to lower the barrier to entry."

In addition to small-scale trading, NASD officials also anticipate enabling consumer-to-consumer attention trading through SASE. "The technology is really off-the-shelf sort of stuff," explains NASD's Yenk. "AX trading stations are equipped with network enabled cameras, and the trading process itself is really pretty simple, something like 'I'll look at you and what you're doing for 8 minutes if you look at me for 12,' that sort of thing. With SASE we just provide the framework in which those sorts of transactions can be standardized and enforced."

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