Crypto Trading Platform Planned By Switzerland’s SIX Swiss Exchange
SIX Swiss Exchange, Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, is planning to build a fully integrated, blcokchain-based end-to-end trading, settlement and custody service for cryptocurrencies.
The company said the new platform, dubbed SIX Digital Exchange (SDX), will be overseen by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority and the Swiss National Bank when it launches in the first half of 2019. SIX claims it will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.
The platform will be based on distributed ledger technology (DLT). According to the company, the implementation approach will provide a bridge for clients from the traditional to the new world, in a timeframe which allows clients to choose for themselves how and when to avail themselves of the new opportunities the new ecosystem provides.
The decison to launch the platform comes despite a collapse in the value of cryptocurrencies and declining volumes since the start of the year. However, Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX, claims that the “[crypto] space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry.”
“This is the beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures,” Dijsselhof said. “The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities. This is the role that we at SIX can play. SIX is in a unique position in that it runs the entire securities and payments value chain for Switzerland already, and is ideally positioned to create the digital ecosystem for the future, allowing existing and new market participants to develop their business models for the opportunities available in this new environment. These are strengths that we can bring to the digital space and contribute meaningfully to what is one of the most innovative and dynamic environments of our time.”
Thomas Zeeb, Head Securities & Exchanges at SIX, said that the crypto space currently faces a number of key challenges, including the absence of regulation that ensures official safety, security, stability, transparency and accountability – all of which, he said, contribute to a lack of trust.
“The challenge is less in the trading of assets but rather in the custody and asset servicing, including asset safety,” Zeeb said. “Do you adopt a model with many sub-custodians, including inefficient interfaces and with inherent risks, or do you go with a recognised and regulated infrastructure provider who provides all steps of the chain in an integrated and secure model? We believe that the latter has significant value. As the stock exchange infrastructure for Switzerland, we know what it takes to build and run mission-critical and scalable, systemically important services.”