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ASX Doubles Down on Its Plan to Revamp CHESS

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The Australian Securities Exchange is moving along on its trajectory to implement blockchain technology into its infrastructure. In a press release published earlier today, the securities exchange announced that it would be replacing its the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) with a full blockchain alternative in 2021.

The release showed that the ASX has partnered with Digital Asset Holding and VMware, a tech firm listed on the New York Stock Exchange. According to the fine print of their deal, the two firms have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the ASX, which will see the three parties work on blockchain projects in New Zealand and Australia. In addition to the projects, the deal also shows that they will all work on the replacement platform that will help overhaul the equities settlement and clearing system.

The MoU also shoes support for DAML, an open-source programming language for developing smart contracts. The programming language, which was developed by Digital Asset Holding, is ideally used to help build distributed platforms, and it will be employed by the three parties o this replacement system as well.

So far, this development is the latest in the ASX’s plan to replace CHESS with blockchain. The plan was first revealed in 2017, where the exchange described its initiative as a way of increasing the overall efficiency of CHESS.

At the time, the ASX claimed that by embracing a full blockchain system, they could bring in benefits such as effective speedier transactions and enhanced security, all while keeping costs at their barest minimum. The decision to replace the CHESS on Australia’s leading stock trading exchange came in 2017, when the Bitcoin trading price was on an upward trajectory.

However, while the initial plan was to launch the new clearance system in 2020, the exchange announced that it would be delaying the transition by a further six months.

According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, the decision to delay the move was due to its plan to spend more time on testing and user development. The exchange was reported to have begun industry-wide testing, a process which would have been followed by an accreditation stage.

With all of these still yet to be done, it was inevitable that a delay was going to come. In addition to the blockchain plans, the ASX is also reportedly planning major initiatives to help bring blockchain technology into the operating mechanisms for government agencies in Australia.

Back in 2018, tech giant IBM signed a five-year, AU$1 billion ($740 million) deal with the Australian government, with the intent of working with new technologies (including blockchain) to enhance automation and data security standards across several federal departments, including home affairs and defense.

Speaking on the new partnerships, Peter Hiom, the deputy chief executive of the ASX, nod that working with Digital Asset Holdings and VMware shows the exchange’s continued belief in the potential of blockchain technology, adding that they are still on track to launch the new platform by March or April 2021.

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