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Australian Securities Exchange sets timeline for blockchain transition

After announcing its intentions last year, the ASX is getting serious about adopting new technology.

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Seb Zurcher

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced that it will begin the changeover from its current clearing system onto a blockchain-based platform in time to commence operations between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

The timeline for the transition was initially scheduled to be announced last month, after ASX declared its intention to switch to blockchain technology, also known as distributed ledger technology, in December 2017. Digital Assets Holdings, chaired by former JPMorgan Chase executive Blythe Masters, built and tested the software, which has been held in development for more than two years.

In a consultation paper published yesterday, ASX is proposing it wil take a single weekend to transition from its current clearing system Chess, with customer tests scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2019. 

Migration testing is planned for June 2020, alongside several “dress-rehearsal” weekends before the full transition to make sure the process runs smoothly. User consultation has identified 50 new business requirements that will join the new system, including account structures, settlement, and corporate action processes.

A final functional scope and implementation roadmap is expected to be released in late July 2018.

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