ASX announces that its software overhaul will not include blockchain technology


19th May 2023 – (Sydney) ASX Ltd, Australia’s stock market operator, has announced that it will no longer attempt to rebuild its software platform with blockchain-based technology. This marks one of the most high-profile rejections of the once-praised technology that has primarily been associated with cryptocurrency. The company had paused the rebuild in November after an external review found that seven years of development needed to be largely reworked. Although ASX had previously said it was considering options for another attempt at the rebuild, it has now confirmed that it will not involve blockchain or related “distributed ledger technology” (DLT).

Exchange project director Tim Whiteley told a meeting with participants this week that the company would need to use a more conventional technology to achieve the business outcomes it seeks. In a recording of the meeting shared with Reuters, Whiteley stated that “while we continue to explore all the options, certainly we will need to use a more conventional technology than in the original solution”.

This announcement signals the end of one of the most prominent use cases of blockchain technology, which promises to accelerate online transactions by processing them securely in multiple locations. ASX had previously said that it may resurrect the project using blockchain-based technology developed by New York-based contractor Digital Asset, in which ASX bought a small stake after hiring it to rebuild its software in 2016. However, the company is now exploring other options and has sent a request for information to potential software vendors.

According to Whiteley, ASX is on track to decide on a new strategyfor the project by the end of the year. The company has also issued a request for proposal to a number of vendors who responded positively for more detailed feedback. The decision to abandon blockchain-based technology comes after market participants expressed their concerns about a risky, single-date changeover to new software. Whiteley stated that “that feedback has been taken into the implementation planning”.