ASX Limited (ASX), an Australian public company that operates the Australian Stock Exchange, has selected blockchain technology firm Digital Asset Holdings to develop solutions for the Australian market.
The initial focus will be on clearing and settlement services in the cash equities market. ASX has also joined 12 other global financial services leaders and made a minority investment in Digital Asset, which the tech firm announced today. In February 2015, ASX announced that it would replace or upgrade all of its main trading and post-trade platforms.
The first phase of the program runs to the end of 2016 and will replace ASX’s existing trading and risk management systems.
The second phase will focus on ASX’s post-trade services, including clearing and settlement of the cash equities market. The system that currently provides the clearing and settlement services to the Australian equity market is known as Clearing House Electronic Sub-register System (CHESS).
According to the company, Digital Asset and ASX will use the initial 6 to 12 months to build a solution that highlights the “benefits that distributed ledger technology” brings to a broad range of users, including investors, listed companies and intermediaries. The two firms will engage with Australia’s financial market regulators and government agencies to assess what the technology can bring to the table and the implications for the Australian market’s regulatory framework.
Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset, commented on the partnership:
Digital Asset is delighted to be selected to design the world’s first national scale post-trade solution utilizing Distributed Ledger Technology. The Australian equities market could benefit tremendously from this new technology and enable ASX to better serve existing clients and create new opportunities.
Elmer Funke Kupper, Managing Director and CEO of ASX, added:
Distributed Ledger Technology could provide a once in a generation opportunity to reduce cost, time and complexity in the post-trade environment of Australia’s equity market. Moreover, it could stimulate greater innovation by ASX and other providers of services to issuers, investors and intermediaries. ASX and Digital Asset will work together to design a solution and share the potential benefits with clients and regulators.
Digital Asset is headquartered in New York with offices in San Francisco, Tel Aviv, and Budapest, as well as a new office in London. Since launch, Digital Asset acquired three companies: Hyperledger, Bits of Proof and Blockstack. The firm last year announced it is moving Hyperledger to the open-source Linux Foundation to drive the adoption and standardization of distributed ledger technology.