A top executive at Switzerland‘s principal stock exchange, SIX Swiss Exchange, has revealed the company will look to issue its own digital tokens as part of its forthcoming blockchain-powered digital exchange. The development was reported by financial news outlet Finews on May 6.
The SIX Swiss Exchange sees roughly 5.2 billion Swiss Francs (CHF) (~$5.1 billion) in daily turnover, and has a market capitalization of over 1.67 trillion CHF ~($1.6 trillion). As previously reported, SIX unveiled its plans to launch a digital asset ecosystem, dubbed Six Digital Exchange (SDX), in July 2018.
In today’s interview, Thomas Zeeb — head of securities and exchanges and director at SIX — revealed that the exchange’s plans will encompass native digital applications, involving the launch of new tokens alongside an initial digital offering service.
Zeeb anticipated a pilot of the services to start in late summer, with a live roll out by early 2020. The executive outlined the platform’s broader ambitions, stating:
“Ultimately we want to be able to tokenize existing securities — equities, fixed income, funds. Maybe the token will eventually replace the share one day.”
Noting that clearing regulatory hurdles is of critical importance, Zeeb proposed that assuming the regulatory dialogue proceeds constructively, tokenized securities could become a reality by 2021.
The executive reserved more caution for cryptocurrency trading per se, underscoring the difficulty in ensuring compliance with anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer laws:
“The fatal flaw in trading cryptocurrency is not knowing who’s behind the trades and where the coins are coming from – by design […] The way bitcoin is currently set up and traded, it wouldn’t meet the criteria for SDX.”
Were AML/KYC difficulties to be resolved, Zeeb said that SDX could well aim to establish connectivity with the infrastructure of a crypto exchange, in order to give clients access to a legitimate liquidity pool for cryptocurrencies.
Noting that the SDX venture has required a “a significant double-digit million” investment both in 2018 and this year, Zeeb said he expected the company to maintain both its legacy and digital trading infrastructures for “at least ten years” until traditional counterparties evolve and upgrade their own systems.
As previously reported, in parallel to its ongoing SDX development, SIX listed an advanced multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) in fall 2018, which tracks five major cryptocurrencies. This March, the exchange’s ether (ETH)-based ETP also began trading.