ASX Taps IT Consulting Giant to Review Progress on Delayed Shift to Blockchain

August 05, 2022, 9:07 AM AEST - 1 week ago

The Australian Securities Exchange’s blockchain replacement for clearing system CHESS (Clearing House Electronic Subregister System) has been delayed for a fifth time, with tech consultants Accenture engaged to conduct an independent review.

The review is at the behest of new ASX CEO Helen Lofthouse, who succeeded Dominic Stevens on August 1.

Helen Lofthouse, newly appointed ASX CEO. Source: asia.nikkei.com

“More development is required than previously anticipated to meet ASX’s scalability and resilience requirements for the application,” an ASX spokesperson said this week.

Five Years, Five Delays

The latest delay comes less than six months after the fourth setback in March was blamed on Digital Asset (DAM), the New York-based firm building the software. At that point the upgrade had already cost a rumoured A$187 million since DAM began development of the project in late 2017.

The CHESS replacement underwent initial testing in December 2021, with the clearing and settlement system at that point set to go live in 2023. ASX has now revised that prediction to late 2024 “at the earliest”, with a more specific date to be determined following Accenture’s review, which is expected to take 12 weeks and will be released publicly.

The review will closely examine the CHESS application software provided by Digital Asset, though the blockchain platform provided by VMware and other infrastructure that underpins the CHESS replacement system will not be included in the review.

Potential Conflict of Interest?

Curiously, Accenture is an investor in Digital Asset, contravening the stated purpose of the review – which is an independent set of eyes. On the other hand, the two parties need to be seen to work together for the review to succeed.

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