Blockchain Scores Major Win as Australian Exchange Plans Shift


Australia’s main stock exchange just announced one of the finance industry’s biggest bets yet on blockchain.

ASX Ltd. will start using blockchain — the ledger software that makes bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible — to process equity transactions, according to a filing Thursday. Digital Asset Holdings LLC, the blockchain startup run by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters, will supply the technology.

Blockchain is massively hyped and banks have conducted myriad tests of the ledger technology, with few live deployments. Sydney-based ASX is poised to be among the first to actually put a blockchain system to work in finance. Blockchain proponents tout it as a more efficient and less expensive way to track trades.

Read More: Blythe Masters Tells Banks the Blockchain Will Change Everything

No date for the shift has been announced for replacing ASX’s Clearing House Electronic Subregister System, known as Chess. The new technology will let customers introduce new services and lower costs, ASX said.

“The Chess system’s been around since the ’90s,” said Gareth James, an analyst at Morningstar Inc. “Imagine if you’re using any software on your PC from the ’90s.”

The exchange also invested more in Digital Asset Holdings. That brings the total amount raised by the startup from investors including JPMorgan and CME Group Inc. to more than $115 million, according to a statement from Digital Asset.