Switzerland’s stock exchange today announced that it was building “a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets”. The exchange is owned and managed by SIX, a company regulated as an operator of Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI) by Swiss Authorities, FINMA and the Swiss National Bank.
According to the announcement, the planned SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets and enable the tokenisation of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make “previously untradeable assets tradeable”. The company expects that “the first services” will be rolled out in mid-2019. SIX also said that the platform will be mainly based on distributed ledger technology.
The company’s chief executive officer, Jos Dijsselhof, described the move as the “beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures”, adding that for the company it was “abundantly clear much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry”. He also indicated that the SIX aims to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities.
SIX is not the only company that is making moves to position itself for a ‘tokenised’ future. Last month, the largest US crypto exchange operator, Coinbase, announced that it had applied with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for three licences - a broker-dealer licence, an alternative trading system licence and a registered investment advisor licence. The company also believes that in the future it may work with regulators to “tokenize” existing types of securities, bringing some of the benefits of cryptocurrency-based markets, such as 24/7 trading, real-time settlement and chain of title. Coinbase’s chief operational officer Asiff Hirji said at the time that such an approach would democratise access to capital markets for companies and investors alike, “lowering costs for all participants and bringing additional transparency and inclusion to the ecosystem”.