As we reported before, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is facing headwinds regarding its plans to develop a blockchain-based settlement system, such as public calls for the institution to reexamine its commitment to the technology. Now the venue’s new head responds to critics by making it clear he stands firm in his support for the pioneering attempt.
In August, the ASX Board appointed Dominic Stevens as its managing director and newest CEO. He has now defended the blockchain plans, telling the Financial Times: “We are going through a transformation in technology. The other challenge is about being able to engage with our customers better, so they hold ASX’s services in high regard. We’re working with Digital Asset Holdings on trying to get to a stage where we could contemplate replacing ASX’s clearing system. That’s quite a project.”
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Exemplifying the pushback from some in the market, John Fildes, CEO of Chi-X Australia, told the newspaper that brokers would prefer that ASX replace its existing solution with a standard protocol: “It is an extra cost burden not to use globally implemented systems.”
ASX owns approximately 8.5% of Blythe Masters’ Digital Asset Holdings which it selected to develop solutions for the Australian market utilizing distributed ledger technology. The exchange wants a blockchain solution that will help mitigate risk and reduce back-office administration and compliance costs, as well as offer faster settlement of equity transactions for investors.
ASX will reportedly only make a final decision on the viability of the implementation in the financial year that ends in June 2018.