The Wall Street Journal: Australian stock exchange bets on blockchain for its future

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s main securities exchange is betting on the record-keeping technology that underpins bitcoin to process stock trading in the country.

The decision to adopt the technology to replace ASX Ltd.’s ASX, +0.74%   current decades-old system offers a significant foothold in mainstream finance for blockchain. ASX expects the shift will make the sharing of vast volumes of data more efficient and lead to cost savings for its customers.

ASX on Thursday said it would replace its system for recording shareholdings and managing the clearing and settlement of equity trades with blockchain ledger technology developed by Digital Asset Holdings, a financial-technology company led by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Blythe Masters.

The exchange, which has been looking to replace its existing system for more than two years, said it aimed to disclose the proposed timing of the change and the functions the new technology will initially have by the end of March. The cost of developing the blockchain-backed system wasn’t disclosed. “This puts us ahead of other exchanges, which we know are watching this closely,” ASX Deputy Chief Executive Peter Hiom said.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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