The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has indefinitely postponed the launch of the blockchain-based alternative of its equities clearing and settlement system.
Originally set for a launch by the end of 2020, the exchange earlier delayed it till April next year. Now, however, there is no specified timeline for the launch.
Announced on Wednesday, the move this time was taken due to the ongoing turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The decentralized clearing system will replace the legacy CHESS system of the exchange.
“In light of recent events, ASX is replanning the implementation of the CHESS replacement system,” Peter Hiom, deputy chief at ASX, said. “We are conscious of the importance of providing a new schedule, and the need to get the valuable input of CHESS users. Right now, however, in this environment of heightened volatility and activity levels, the industry needs to focus on day-to-day operations.”
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The exchange will initiate talks to replan the launch of its blockchain platform in June and will assess the implication of COVID-19.
In partnership with blockchain firm Digital Asset, the ASX is working on the blockchain-based alternative for three years now.
“ASX remains fully committed to CHESS replacement. We continue to progress the project, including system development and testing, supporting back office software developers, and assisting users in their readiness activities,” Hiom added.
“The investments we are making in the new system and in distributed ledger technology are for the long-term benefit of the financial services industry and the Australian economy.”
Notably, in mid-2019, the ASX has already launched the testnet of its ambitious decentralized system to replace its decades-old CHESS system. Now available to only a handful of players, the exchange is aiming to open the industry test environment to all users by October.