In a potential move toward innovation, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) may explore the listing of tokenized real-world assets, according to ASX Chief Information Officer, Dan Chesterman. Although a direct listing of cryptocurrencies poses challenges due to regulatory constraints, Chesterman expressed openness to listing appropriately-backed tokenized assets such as gold.
Chesterman emphasized that past hurdles in directly listing cryptocurrencies stemmed from non-compliance with listing rules. However, he expressed optimism about the possibility of listing tokenized products in the future. He stated, “Could I imagine us potentially, in the end, having a tokenized product listed on us? Absolutely.”
As of the first quarter of 2023, the ASX, the 16th largest stock exchange globally by market capitalization, accounted for around 82% of the total dollar turnover in local equity market products, as reported by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
Chesterman’s perspective on blockchain aligns with sentiments expressed by prominent banking executives. Howard Silby, Chief Innovation Officer at National Australia Bank (NAB), noted that experimentation with blockchain remains prevalent in large financial institutions, emphasizing its role as an “efficiency driver.” Similarly, Sophie Gilder, Managing Director of Blockchain and Digital Assets at Commonwealth Bank, highlighted the potential for significant efficiency gains and risk reduction through asset tokenization and smart payments.
While ASX has faced criticism for suspending the blockchain-based upgrade of its clearing and settlements system, which incurred substantial costs, Chesterman clarified that the decision was not a rejection of blockchain technology. He cited delays as the primary reason for the pause, aiming to avoid prolonged uncertainty for customers. ASX continues to collaborate with infrastructure company Digital Assets for the development of its blockchain platform, Synfini.
The ASX’s consideration of tokenized real-world assets reflects an evolving approach to digital assets and blockchain technology, signaling potential advancements in the Australian financial landscape.