Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Delays the Launch of its Blockchain Settlement System to Unspecified Date

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Delays the Launch of its Blockchain Settlement System to Unspecified Date

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), also referred as Sydney Stock Exchange, has further delayed the launch of its Blockchain settlement system to an unspecified date amid Coronavirus pandemic.

This blockchain settlement system will replace the ASX’s Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), computer system used by the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) to record shareholdings and manage the settlement of share transactions.

ASX made the announcement in press release published Wednesday, March 25. According to the press release, the delay is also due to in response to user feedback on timing, requested functionality changes, and the need for ASX to complete aspects of its own readiness.

ASX, as reported, has been working with two blockchain firms Digital Asset (DA) and VMware to replace its 25-years old CHESS system with a blockchain-based settlement system for the past three years.

The proposed blockchain settlement system was initially planned to go live by the end of 2020. It was then delayed to April 2021, but now it is further delayed to unspecified date. The ASX said that it was in continues discussion with users on the project schedule. Some users asked for more time to prepare and some requested changes to the functionality of the new system. The ASX also needs some more time to additional time to complete some of its development and readiness activities.

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These issues were under consideration before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the recent outbreak of has created a more uncertainty around the project. So the launch has been postponed to an unspecified date. ASX will therefore conduct user consultation in June prior to finalising the new schedule.

Peter Hiom, deputy CEO of ASX, said:

In light of recent events, ASX is replanning the implementation of the CHESS replacement system. We are conscious of the importance of providing a new schedule, and the need to get the valuable input of CHESS users. Right now, however, in this environment of heightened volatility and activity levels, the industry needs to focus on day-to-day operations. We will therefore wait until June to consult on the new timetable when we expect everyone will have more time to consider the replan and better assess the implications of COVID-19. We will then announce the new schedule.”

However, ASX announced that Industry Test Environment (ITE) would be opened in July to validate systems, processes, and procedures. Until October 2020, ITE will be opened to all users.

Peter Hiom concluded:

ASX remains fully committed to CHESS replacement. We continue to progress the project, including system development and testing, supporting back office software developers, and assisting users in their readiness activities. The investments we are making in the new system and in distributed ledger technology are for the long-term benefit of the financial services industry and the Australian economy.”

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