For quite some time now, there have been discussions regarding ASX and blockchain technology. Utilizing distributed ledgers for post-trade network activities is a big step. The expected switchover, however, has been delayed by yet another year.
ASX Remains on the Fence
It was somewhat to be expected that ASX would require more time to integrate its blockchain network. A domestic securities exchange needs to properly analyze the risks and benefits. Moreover, cutting off the existing network in favor of a new solution is never easy. It is not a decision to be made lightly by any means.
Additionally, there is the COVID-19 pandemic. It has not helped matters progress by any means. There is more market volatility than ever before. As a result. ASX wants to take another year to test its blockchain post-trade network. Moreover, the team aims to look into adding extra functionality.
One has to keep in mind this DLT solution has been under development since 2017. More than three years later, one would expect this technology to be integrated. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The initial launch date had already been pushed to April 2021, but it will now take until at least April 2022.
Until the switch happens, its existing system will remain in place.This system has served ASX well, but can always be improved upon even further. Chess, as the new service is called, focuses on collaboration and productivity, as well a faster post-trade processing capacity.
Switching Over Post-COVID
It is evident the AX team aims to fully focus on blockchain in the post-COVID world. The big question if and when such a world will come to fruition. With no vaccine in sight, and cases flaring up worldwide, something has to change. For now, it remains unclear if the April 2022 deadline is even feasible.
ASX Chief Dominic Stevens adds:
“It is clear that Covid-19 continues to impact the whole industry, including ASX, and this has evolved what our stakeholders want from the Chess replacement system. In parallel, ASX has considered how we can reduce delivery risk, enhance the customer experience and continuously improve project execution. Consequently, we have increased the scope of the project and extended the timeline.”
Despite the setback, it is good to see the focus shifting to security and accessibility. Launching a blockchain service or network is never straightforward. The delay by ASX is unfortunate, but it may be the best outcome for all parties involved.
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