The need of transparency over regulation is delaying the development of blockchain technology for cutting the cost of share trading, the world’s trade body for exchanges said. The World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) asked its affiliates about their plans to use blockchain, a tamper-proof shared ledger that can automatically process and settle transactions using computer algorithms, with no need for third party authorization. More big banks, among the main consumers of exchanges, piled into blockchain development because of the savings it could potentially bring. The WFE said blockchain was likely to have its largest use in clearing and settlement, whereby the paperwork of a trade is achieved and legal ownership of the security is swapped for money.
Financial market frameworks are uncertain about the extent to which the technology, particularly as used to capital markets, will live up to its promise, They also highlighted several risks that need to be addressed such as risks of maintaining security standards across a decentralized database, legal and regulatory uncertainty, and concerns around scalability. Blockchain looks to connect elements of trading, clearing and settlement but current legal and regulatory rules treat each of those solely, the WFE said.Vested interests in the preservation of the existing system was also a barrier to developing blockchain, the WFE said. The WFE survey was based on responses from 24 exchanges, clearing and settlement houses such as CME Group, Deutsche Boerse, China Financial Futures Exchange, LCH. Clearnet, Japan Exchange Group, Nasdaq and Singapore Exchange. The survey was conducted in conjunction with a consultative committee of IOSCO, the global umbrella group for securities markets regulators who are studying the implications of blockchain. Many exchanges and clearing houses are already looking at how they could use blockchain.