Professor Yermack said that the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is presently studying whether to convert the exchange to blockchain technology. The aim is to reach a decision in 2017, with the hope of implementation by 2018. If the ASX adopts a blockchain mechanism for the clearing and settlement of trades, it will become a leader among international stock exchanges in terms of market innovation.
The ASX, and other incumbent operators of financial markets, need to find a way to offer customers the cost, speed, and transparency of an open blockchain, while still finding a value-added role to play as coordinators of order flow or providers of market data. The ASX’s consideration of blockchain technology is an exciting step in this direction, but if the exchange tries too hard to preserve its position as gatekeeper, it may well be leapfrogged by other, more ambitious market entrants.