The operator of the Swiss Stock Exchange, SIX Group, said it will launch its new blockchain-powered exchange, dubbed SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), in the second half of 2019.
The new platform, which will initially run parallel to the existing SIX platform, will use blockchain distributed ledger to bridge traditional finance and the technology of cryptocurrencies.
SIX Group’s chairman, Romeo Lacher, told Reuters on the sidelines of a Swiss Finance Institute conference that the company is ready to add several digital assets to its platform. He also expects the existing system to be completely replaced by the SDX digital exchange in about ten years.
Lacher clarified that SIX Group has not yet chosen the specific products to be listed, but will initially introduce selected stocks. When fully launched, stocks will be followed by bonds and exchange-traded funds, as well as tokenizing other securities and non-tradeable assets such as paintings or vintage cars.
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He added that digitalization of each asset would go through a rigorous review process before adding it to the exchange.
“We want to start with our own Security Token Offering. The supervisory board will probably decide (on the project)in late summer,” Lacher said.
SIX’s move is part of a broader trend
SIX is the parent company of Switzerland’s main stock exchange, and SDX will also operate under FINMA authority’s standards of regulation and oversight
Although SIX will be the first leading marketplace to offer such a regulated environment for digital assets, many exchanges are also working on similar projects. Last year, German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse has set up a unit focused on blockchain and crypto assets to explore the technology for various use cases.
Swiss authorities were eager to maintain a leading role for Switzerland in the cryptocurrency space while playing catch-up in its rapidly changing landscape. Earlier last year, FINMA released its initial coin offering (ICO) guidelines and classification of tokens and laid out a number of objectives as a part of its fintech-friendly agenda.