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ASX opens customer development centre for blockchain settlement system

ASX opens customer development centre for blockchain settlement system

The Australian Securities Exchange has moved closer to its goal of rolling out a blockchain-based settlement system with the opening of a new Customer Development Environment for users to test and interact with the new system.

The first of seven ‘drops’ of software code was made available to market participants late last month. Additional releases will come at eight-week intervals, culminating in full functionality in the CDE by mid-2020.

The ASX's ambitious plans to switch from its Chess post-trade settlement system to a new blockchain-based platform provided by Digital Asset is being watched closely by major markets across the world.

Initially scheduled for introduction between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, the deadline has since been extended by six months following user concerns about the scope of the technical changes required and the tight timeline.

Cliff Richards, ASX’s executive general manger Equity Post-Trade Services, says: “While we believe distributed ledger technology offers exciting opportunities for the whole market to innovate, there is much still to do. We continue to work closely with our customers as we progress towards delivery of the new system."

The opening of the CDE allows customers to interact and experiment with the new platform. Once connected, users can design, build and test system changes, access some of the new business functionality, and compare various access options.

Customers can connect to the new system directly via a DLT node, which provides access to real-time, synchronised, source-of-truth data. While ASX encourages this mode of connection, other access options are also available, including the ISO 20022 global messaging standard via AMQP and Swift, and a web browser for low volume, infrequent usage.

“We know our progress is being watched internationally and is an important bellwether for the technology's adoption”, says Peter Hiom, ASX deputy CEO. “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.”

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