As many industry observers already know, The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has been working toward becoming the first exchange of its kind to use blockchain technology for its post-trade services. The exchange revealed late this week that it plans to increase its investment in the technology in 2017 as it pushes forward to build on the distributed ledger system currently being developed by Digital Asset Holdings.
To date, ASX has invested AUS $20.3 million on the technology. The announced plans will include additional investment that will bring the total to AUS $50 million. The decision comes in the wake of a series of successful DLT tests that have sparked increased confidence in the technology, and in the investments needed to bring the new blockchain system on line.
According to the exchange’s DLT project leader, Peter Hiom, the effort is already yielding tremendous results and has already achieved progress toward building “base-level functionality to facilitate cash market settlement."
The decision to move toward a blockchain system has not been without controversy, and some in the Australian press have focused attention on potential job losses that could occur when the technology is implemented. In a report on the Australian Financial Review’s online magazine, company chief executive Dominic Stevens seemed to dismiss those concerns by nothing that the payoff would be worth any pain caused by the loss of jobs. When asked how many jobs could be lost, he said:
"It's hard for me to say because I'm not running a back office at these organizations, but as to the jobs, there will be efficiencies brought about by electronic reconciliation, replacing manual straight-through processes."