The Swiss Stock Exchange–also known as SIX–announced on Friday (July 6) its intentions to build a blockchain-based trading exchange fully integrated for the “settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets.”
According to the exchange, the SIX Digital Exchange will become the first ever global market infrastructure that will provide theses services, in addition to being a secure environment for issuing and trading digital assets.
The SIX Digital Exchange will also allow for tokenization of existing securities in addition to non-bankable assets “to make previously untradeable assets tradeable.”
In a video interview, Thomas Zeeb, head of securities and exchanges at SIX said a key thing to note about the exchange is that SIX is already a significant infrastructure provider at a global scale and that it is already regulated as a financial market infrastructure (FMI) by FINMA and the Swiss National Bank.
“We provide already trading services through the Swiss Exchange, we provide clearing, custody, settlement, as well as payment services,” he said. “All of that value chain is under our control, and that is unique.”
Because SIX is a regulated operator, what this means is that the SIX Digital Exchange will also have the same level of oversights and regulations.
“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,” Jos Dijsselhof, CEO of SIX said in the press release.
Based on distributed ledger technology (DLT), one of the primary goals of the new exchange will be to connect typically traditional banking services and digital communities together, which Dijsselhof says is a position that SIX can fill.
“SIX is in a unique position in that it runs the entire securities and payments value chain for Switzerland already, and is 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,” he continued.
As it currently stands, the exchange won’t directly trade bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, although it say it is not adverse to doing so.
“First we will enable the tokenization of bankable assets like stocks or bonds and, potentially, at a later stage non-bankable assets,” the exchange said in a tweet. “Whether we will make cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or existing “ICO tokens” available, is still open.”
SIX estimates that the new digital exchange will roll out within the first half of 2019.