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Content - Swiss bourse SIX launches cryptocurrency platform

  • July 09, 2018

Swiss bourse SIX launches cryptocurrency platform

Tokyo (SCCIJ) - Switzerland’s stock exchange – owned and managed by SIX – is building a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets. With this move, the stock exchange is seeking a global lead in this field and strengthening Switzerland's claim of being particularly open for digital assets. Earlier, Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann had said that Switzerland wanted to become a "crypto nation". Start-ups in the field have been attracted to Switzerland, with the canton of Zug promoting itself as the heart of "crypto valley".

Swiss Exchange SIX, Zurich

Worldwide premiere

It will be the first market infrastructure in the world to offer a fully integrated end-to-end trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets. The service will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets and enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.  

SIX is regulated as an operator of Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI) by Swiss Authorities, FINMA and the Swiss National Bank, and intends that the planned ‘digital asset ecosystem’ – SIX Digital Exchange (“SDX”) – will enjoy the same standard of oversight and regulation. Following an agile approach to meet the needs of today’s dynamic environment, the first services will be rolled out in mid-2019.  

Blockchain as basis

The service will be mainly based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), commonly known as blockchain technology. The implementation approach will provide a bridge for clients from the traditional to the new world, in a timeframe which allows clients to choose for themselves how and when to avail themselves of the new opportunities the new ecosystem provides.  

According to Thomas Zeeb, Head Securities & Exchanges, SIX, “The digital space currently faces a number of key challenges. These include the absence of regulation that ensures official safety, security, stability, transparency and accountability – all of which contribute to a lack of trust. The challenge is less in the trading of assets but rather in the custody and asset servicing, including asset safety", he stated.  

Regulation and efficiency

When it comes to trading digital assets, a fundamental choice must be taken: Do you adopt a model with many sub-custodians, including inefficient interfaces and with inherent risks, or do you go with a recognized and regulated infrastructure provider who provides all steps of the chain in an integrated and secure model?  

The SIX manager gave this answer: "We believe that the latter has significant value. As the stock exchange infrastructure for Switzerland, we know what it takes to build and run mission-critical and scalable, systemically important services.”  

New era for Swiss bourse

According to Jos Dijsselhof, CEO SIX, “This is the beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures. For us it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities. This is the role that we at SIX can play, he said.  

SIX would be in a unique position in that it runs the entire securities and payments value chain for Switzerland already. Thus, it would be ideally positioned to create the digital ecosystem for the future, allowing existing and new market participants to develop their business models for the opportunities available in this new environment.

"These are strengths that we can bring to the digital space and contribute meaningfully to what is one of the most innovative and dynamic environments of our time," the SIX CEO said.  

About SIX

SIX operates and develops infrastructure services in the areas of securities, payment transactions and financial information with the aim of raising efficiency, quality and innovative capacity across the entire value chain of the Swiss financial center. The company is owned by its users (127 banks).  

With a workforce of some 4,000 employees and a presence in 23 countries, it generated operating income in excess of CHF 1.9 billion and group net profit of CHF 207.2 million in 2017.      

 

Text: SCCIJ with material of SIX; Photo: SIX

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