The Clash of Titans: ASX vs Digital Asset
Digital Asset — the New York firm responsible for Australian Securities Exchange’s (ASX) now-abandoned blockchain-based clearing system — has pointed fingers at the securities exchange for dropping its blockchain plans. ASX, however, labels these claims as misleading and has hit back.
Behind the Scenes: ASX’s Blockchain Vision
For nearly seven years, ASX was on the path to become the world’s first securities exchange to embrace blockchain technology, in partnership with Digital Asset. But on May 17, the ASX made an unexpected announcement: it was abandoning the upgrade for more conventional technology solutions.
Unveiling the Causes: Digital Asset’s Allegations
Eric Saraniecki, the co-founder of Digital Asset, revealed two main reasons for the blockchain upgrade failure. First, he claimed the ASX was unwilling to share critical test data that would’ve enabled better system functionality testing. Second, while publicly advocating for a “big bang” replacement method for its almost 30-year-old CHESS platform, ASX was allegedly requesting Digital Asset to maintain some elements of the outdated system.
ASX Strikes Back: The Communication Issue
Contrary to Digital Asset’s claims, David Curran, ASX’s Non-Executive Director, defended the ASX, saying the issue boiled down to a lack of proper communication from Digital Asset regarding their concerns.
Inside the Upgrade Pause: ASX’s Perspective
ASX’s Managing Director and CEO, Helen Lofthouse, said that the decision to pause the upgrade was not due to “flexible requirements” but the system’s pre-existing requirements and how settlements work in Australia.
The Blockchain Question: ASX’s Future Plans
Despite widely-reported abandonment of blockchain tech, ASX CIO Tim Whiteley says that “no firm decision” has been made yet and that they continue to explore all options for the solution design.
Final Thoughts: A Lesson in Technology Upgrade
The story of the CHESS blockchain upgrade project is a valuable case study for entities considering significant technology overhaul. It emphasizes the need for clear communication, precise project requirements, and the importance of extensive and inclusive testing in successful implementation.
As ASX and Digital Asset continue to navigate their individual paths, the industry watches closely to learn from their experience. The ASX’s final decision on blockchain adoption, yet to be confirmed, is highly anticipated. Ultimately, whatever the direction, the primary aim remains to improve operational efficiency and provide greater value to stakeholders.
Indeed, the blame game between ASX and Digital Asset serves as a timely reminder that the road to innovation is often fraught with challenges. This debacle highlights that in the dynamic world of technology, collaboration, and mutual understanding are as vital as the technology itself.