SIX Swiss Exchange Postpones Launch of Blockchain-Powered Digital Exchange

Switzerland's SIX Swiss Exchange has postponed the launch of its “fully regulated” crypto trading platform SIX Digital Exchange (SDX).

According to the official announcement published on Sept. 23, SIX has launched a prototype of its digital exchange and the central securities depository (CSD). The full launch is now expected in Q4 2020. The document explains:

“The objective of the prototype is to showcase the future of financial markets to the community and obtain feedback as well as demonstrate that a distributed CSD – based on DLT – can be integrated with a central order-book stock exchange model to ensure fair market conditions for all.”

Legal and regulatory issues

As Reuters reported on Sept. 23, a spokesman said SIX moved the full launch of SDX to the end of 2020 primarily due to legal and regulatory issues. The exchange is reportedly still in negotiations with partner banks, the services of which it will offer on the platform. The spokesperson said:

“Future releases will offer more functionality, with a particular emphasis on asset servicing, in Q1 2020. The full launch is expected in Q4 2020.”

SDX’s initial plans

SDX was initially announced in July last year, with plans to be rolled out in mid-2019. At the time, a news release said SDX intends to become “a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets,” which it claimed would be the world’s first to “offer a fully integrated end to end trading, settlement and custody service.”

SIX previously chose to use blockchain consortium R3’s Corda Enterprise platform for SDX. In February 2019, the company announced it would be testing blockchain integration for SDX, and would use the technology to tokenize stocks, bonds and possibly exchange-traded funds.

Plans to issue a digital token and a stablecoin

In May of this year, SIX revealed that it will look to issue its own digital token as part of SDX’s forthcoming launch. Thomas Zeeb, the head of securities and exchanges and director at SIX, had said:

“Ultimately we want to be able to tokenize existing securities — equities, fixed income, funds. Maybe the token will eventually replace the share one day.”

Recently, SIX asked the Swiss central bank to issue a stablecoin, which will be used to settle payments on SDX.