New Chairman Confirms ASX Is Proceeding with Blockchain Project Following Resignation of Elmer Funke Kupper

The abrupt resignation of Elmer Funke Kupper from his post as chief executive officer of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday, led many to question if the blockchain project he started with Digital Asset Holdings will ever come to fruition.

On Monday, the ASX issued a release clarifying the circumstances of Mr Kupper’s departure and announced that ASX Chairman Rick Holliday-Smith, will temporarily take over the role of Executive Chairman of the exchange.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Holliday-Smith explained that the ASX will proceed with its implementation of blockchain technology to modernize various post-trading processes:

“The ASX Board is committed to the development of distributed ledger technology,” said Rick Holliday-Smith. He also referred to ASX’s blockchain effort as a “unique opportunity for Australia to be a leader in the assessment of innovative market solutions.”

Funke Kupper was a big believer in the potential for distributed ledgers to radically speed-up the settlement of stock trades, “We can now trade equities in 150 microseconds, then it takes two days to settle. That makes no sense,” said Kupper in an interview with Bloomberg earlier this year.

In today’s letter to ASX shareholders, Rick Holliday-Smith confirmed that the ASX is determined to continue its evaluation of blockchains.

The letter stated:

“This technology has the potential to lower risk and costs for ASX customers, and speed-up the settlement process for investors.”

Holliday-Smith also said in his letter that a final decision on the integration of the technology at the ASX will be made sometime next year.

“A decision on the suitability of distributed ledger technology is expected by mid-2017, after the benefits and implications are considered by all relevant stakeholders, including customers, government and regulators.”

In a telephone interview with Bloomberg, Blythe Masters – who is currently working with the ASX on the blockchain project with her company Digital Asset Holdings – confirmed that the collaboration is “proceeding as planned”.

 

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