SDX, the blockchain-based digital asset trading platform being developed by the SIX Group, has suffered yet another setback as three executives from the company have already stepped back from their roles.
Earlier this week, Ivo Sauter, the Head of Clients and Products at the firm, as well as Chief Digital Officer Sven Roth, announced that they would be vacating their positions at the company. According to a spokesperson for the SIX Group, Alex Zinder, one of the company’s architecture leads who was hired about a year ago, also left earlier this month.
The spokesperson pointe doubt that Roth will continue to serve as an external advisor to the SDX, most likely meaning that the two other team members won’t be affiliated with the company or its blockchain project going forward.
Difference In Approach
Sauter and Roth were instrumental in laying the foundation of the SDX project from the beginning. They worked with Martin Halblaub, the company’s former chief executive who departed last August. At the time of his departure, Halblaub explained that he was stepping back because he had developed strategic differences with the SIX Group board.
As Swissinfo reported at the time, Halblaub was looking towards launching the SDX as an independent entity, while the SIX Group, which also runs the Swiss stock exchange, was keen on keeping the blockchain platform as part of its organization.
“I fully support SDX’s ambition and business model and would have loved to lead SDX into the future. However, I have decided with a heavy heart — given our differing ideas on strategy, combined with the stretch the role is for my life model — that I cannot engage in a long-term commitment as Head of SDX,” Halblaub said in his exit speech.
As for the new exits, Sauter seemed to have left the company after watching it deviate from what he had initially viewed it to be. While he explained that he had left on good terms with the firm, he pointed out that he was eventually pushed out the door by a growing dis-alignment between him and the firm.
As he explained, the initial objective was to start by partnering with banking institutions in the country and perhaps build toward critical mass eventually. However, it became increasingly evident that this wouldn’t work, and he chose to step down.
The Swiss’ Crypto-Friendliness is Still Intact
Although the departures will be a setback, the SIX Group is trudging towards a 2020 launch of the SDX- a venture that will hopefully cement Switzerland as a global leader in digital currency adoption. Apart from this endeavor, Switzerland has become an important nation for the global crypto space, with friendly and structured regulations and an appetite for digital currency innovation.
However, the government has so far kept the concept of a Central Bank Digital Currency at arm’s length. Last month, the Federal Council of Switzerland announced that it had sanctioned a study into the potential applications and risks of a state-backed digital asset.
Following the analysis, it concluded that such an asset wouldn’t be an effective currency, adding that the risks of a state-backed cryptocurrency outweigh the benefits.