Canada’s central bank, Toronto Stock Exchange operator TMX Group, and non-profit organization Payments Canada, completed tests showing blockchain can be used for instantaneous securities settlements, Reuters reports today, May 11.
The three companies concluded that blockchain, the technology originally developed for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), is usable for automating securities settlements in real time. Both cash and assets can effectively be “tokenized” for instant exchange. Gerry Gaetz, president and CEO of Payments Canada, told Reuters:
“This shows that it is possible to deliver payments in a way that has never been done before – by directly swapping cash from buyers to sellers, resulting in instant settlements.”
The blockchain pilot, dubbed “Project Jasper,” was first announced in 2016, and its latest phase launched late last year. However, Bank of Canada Senior Special Director Scott Hendry, has voiced doubt as to the advantages the system could offer in terms of cost savings. Reuters quotes Hendry at a conference in Toronto on Thursday as saying:
“We’re still uncertain after doing this work that there are significant savings possible for participants. It’s not clear that all the participant dealers and banks are going to get a significant benefit out of this settlement system.”
This week, a pilot of Ripple’s Xrapid liquidity solution for its blockchain-powered real-time gross settlement system received positive results from financial institutions, who reported transaction savings of 40-70 percent and improved transaction speeds. JPMorgan has also just filed a patent in the U.S. for a peer-to-peer payments network, which would use blockchain technology for intra- and inter-bank settlements.