The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), will move the settlement and clearing of the $2 trillion Australian cash equities market onto blockchain-inspired technology being developed by a NY start-up.
"Together, Digital Asset and our client ASX have shown that the technology not only works, but can meet the requirements of mission critical financial infrastructure", said Digital Asset CEO Blythe Masters.
The exchange also invested more in Digital Asset Holdings, bringing the total raised by the startup from investors including JPMorgan and CME Group.to more than US$115 million, according to a statement from the firm.
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The move will make the Australian Securities Exchange one of the biggest mainstream financial markets to use the relatively new ledger system, best known as the technology underpinning the bitcoin crypto-currency.
Over the past year, the ASX conducted industry-wide consultation, including quarterly webinars with over 150 participants; performed demonstrations of the blockchain-based technology to 110 companies from global finance companies; held a series of engagement workshops; and arranged six business committee meetings to prepare the DLT solution.
The ASX invested $14.9 million into U.S. distributed ledger company Digital Asset in January 2016, and increased its stake in June 2016.
There is no specific date reported on when the ASX will shift towards blockchain technology.
"We believe that using DLT to replace CHESS will enable our customers to develop new services and reduce their costs", ASX Managing Director and CEO Dominic Stevens said.
"After so much hype surrounding distributed ledger technology, today's announcement delivers the first meaningful proof that the technology can live up to its potential", he says. "Customers will be able to connect in a similar way [as] they do today, with the addition of using contemporary global ISO 20022 messaging, or they may interact directly with the distributed ledger". Day 1 functionality and the proposed timing for transition are expected to be released for market feedback at the end of March 2018.
Gartner has highlighted that curiosity is keeping the sector aware of the technology, but risk aversion is stopping it from being an investment priority.
It is touted that blockchain technology is a more efficient and less expensive way to track trades.
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