The operator of the Swiss Stock Exchange, SIX Group, is delaying the launch of its new blockchain-powered exchange until the end of 2020. Dubbed SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), the platform had previously projected a launch date in the second half of 2019.
The new platform, which will initially run parallel to the existing SIX platform, will use blockchain distributed ledger to bridge traditional finance and the technology of cryptocurrencies.
SIX Group’s spokesman told Reuters they already conducted a prototype of the digital exchange and central securities depository, but the official debut was postponed to a target date of Q4 2020, subject to regulatory approval. SIX head Jos Dijsselhof explained that while he expects the existing system to be completely replaced by the SDX within a decade, but the major swiss exchange is still clarifying legal and regulatory issues with the Finma market watchdog.
He added that SIX Group has not yet chosen the specific products to be listed, but the company will initially introduce selected stocks in cooperation with Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, and Citibank. When fully launched, stocks will be followed by bonds and exchange-traded funds, as well as tokenizing other securities and non-tradeable assets such as paintings or vintage cars. The digitalization of each asset would go through a rigorous review process before adding it to the exchange.
SIX’s move is part of a broader trend
“Future releases will offer more functionality, with a particular emphasis on asset servicing, in Q1 2020. The full launch is expected in Q4 2020,” SIX said in a statement.
SIX is the parent company of Switzerland’s main stock exchange, and SDX will also operate under FINMA authority’s standards of regulation and oversight
Although SIX will be the first leading marketplace to offer such a regulated environment for digital assets, many exchanges are also working on similar projects. Last year, German stock exchange operator Deutsche Boerse has set up a unit focused on blockchain and crypto assets to explore the technology for various use cases.
Swiss authorities were eager to maintain a leading role for Switzerland in the cryptocurrency space while playing catch-up in its rapidly changing landscape. Earlier last year, FINMA released its initial coin offering (ICO) guidelines and classification of tokens and laid out a number of objectives as a part of its fintech-friendly agenda.