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The blockchain twist to Australia’s stock exchange has been indefinitely cancelled. The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), that has spent around $170 million (roughly Rs. 1,387 crore), in a blockchain revamp following an independent review from Accenture. The result of this consultation showed “significant challenges” with the design solution that the ASX had been working on. Those solutions were not really meeting with ASXs requirements. The ASX aimed to use blockchain to advance its clearing and settlements system.

The ASX wished to replace its existing CHESS system to record shareholdings and manage transaction settlements. The abbreviation of the 25-year-old system expands to — Clearing House Electronic Subregister System.

As part of its review, Accenture has claimed that ASX’s Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), was too complex. The blockchain software was up to 60 percent complete.

“ASX’s announcement marks a significant setback to the replacement of critical national infrastructure for Australia’s cash equity markets,” said an official statement from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

Philip Lowe, the Reserve Bank Governor has expressed major disappointment in ASX’s failure to introduce a blockchain twist to its operations.

“The announcement by ASX after many years of investment by both ASX and industry is very disappointing. ASX needs to prioritise developing a new plan to deliver safe and reliable clearing and settlement infrastructure,” Lowe noted.

The ASX has been directed to keep the CHESS system running until an efficient alternate is designed.

Last year in November, Jane Hume, the Digital Economy Minister of Australia, had urged the Australian government to embrace innovation and developments around blockchain.

Meanwhile, other nations are also trying to experiment with expanding the use cases of blockchain to bring unchangeable transparency to their operations.

In Brazil, the law enforcement authorities unveiled a special blockchain network aiming to combat corruption in public expenses by tracking them efficiently.

Earlier in October, the police unit of India’s Firozabad district launched a new complaint forum built on the Polygon blockchain to enable locals to lodge complaints with the law enforcement in an unchangeable format.

Even in the UAE, Abu Dhabi has decided to use the blockchain technology to make commercial judicial processes more efficient. This will result in substantial time and cost savings for parties in the enforcement of their commercial judgments.


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By Ajay Kumar Verma

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