Ongoing negotiations with market participants about a potential blockchain replacement for the CHESS settlement system are likely to bear fruit later this year, says the ASX.
Speaking at an ASX half-year result analyst briefing, chief executive Dominic Stevens said there is a high level of engagement in the post-trade sector about the proposed CHESS replacement.
The ASX has an 8.5 per cent stake in US-based Digital Asset Holdings, which is working on developing a replacement for CHESS based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), also known as the ‘blockchain’.
Mr Stevens said there has been a lot of engagement at the business committee level and the consultation process has seen a number of submissions.
"People are very interested in the technology – they don't seem to have a problem with that. [But] they're looking for more things upfront: can it do this, can it do that," he said.
"That's the purpose of the next three to six months: to bring all of that together as to what those services might be and how far sort of like a first release of this would look like."
ASX deputy chief executive Peter Hiom, who sits on the stakeholders committee for the project, said there is a "diverse" range of participants involved from all parts of the post-trade "ecosystem".
"There's a lot of work to do to understand what is a very diverse set of customers who all have their own requirements of the platform that we need to work through," Mr Hiom said.
Asked how distributed ledger technology could affect the competitive landscape in Australian clearing services, Mr Stevens predicted other players will "wait to see where the dust settles".
"I think people probably want to see where this actually goes or where the technology can take them," Mr Stevens said.
"You've got from T+3 to T+2 – it's not going to go back out again, if anything it's only going shorter ... it's going to take a while before we get to an understanding of where we're going."
The first half of 2016-17 saw the ASX post a net profit after tax of $219.4 million, up 3 per cent on the prior corresponding period.
Expenses were up $5 million, partly reflecting the increased spending in strategic initiatives such as the distributed ledger technology project.
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