Australian Securities Exchange Opens Blockchain Settlement Platform To Client Testing

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The Australian Securities Exchange has begun allowing clients to test its new equities clearing and settlement system powered by blockchain, despite the project still being under development.

Known as the Customer Development Environment (CDE), the exchange announced this week that customers would now be able to access the platform via a blockchain node, allowing for experimentation within the blockchain environment.

After connecting to the platform, users can access real-time data being written to the platform, as well as exploring how the system works, and how it can be further integrated with their own businesses.

Deputy CEO at the Australian Securities Exchanges, Peter Hiom, said the move is the first of its kind to allow market participants to take control of their own node on a blockchain-powered settlements platform.

“It represents the first time market participants anywhere in the world can experience the benefits of ‘taking a node’ and establishing direct connectivity to a golden source record of real-time data via distributed ledger technology.”

Clearing and settlement are essential processes in the trade of assets like shares. With the new platform allowing for these processes to be handled more efficiently and effectively with the help of distributed ledger technology, the model is expected to help market participants reap the benefits.

The exchange, Australia’s foremost stock exchange, is set to release new feature upgrades at eight-weekly intervals, with a deadline of the middle of 2020 for the full feature set to be unveiled.

The system is ultimately expected to replace the current CHESS clearing system used by the exchange, which is still running decades-old technology.

The platform was first announced back in 2017 when development work began, with the help of tech partners Digital Asset. According to managing director and CEO, Dominic Stevens, the new platform could save up to $23 billion in efficiencies throughout the sector.

The CDE platform is only the latest project to leverage blockchain technology in financial services, with companies throughout the industry and elsewhere developing their own technologies on blockchain infrastructure.

Earlier this week, the exchange said that given current progress, the new platform could go live on its main exchange in March or April of 2021.