“The existing system could be completely replaced by the digital exchange in about 10 years,” said Zeeb, who is leading the securities and exchanges department at SIX. “The moment that brokers, banks, insurance companies and big asset managers really see the cost advantages [of blockchain], they’ll move relatively quickly,” he further added.
Zeeb talked to Reuters in the wake of the launch of SIX’s own digital exchange (SDX), scheduled to start working in mid-2019. As soon as the legal issues with the Swiss government and the country’s financial market regulator (FINMA) are clarified, the company is going to offer trading in selected stocks, followed by other stocks, bonds, and exchange-traded funds.
According to Zeeb, the decision to launch a digital exchange was forced by a rivalry with major crypto exchanges, such as Coinbase or Binance. Zeeb believes that they are “pushing” into the business of traditional exchanges and pose a big threat, adding yet again that the competitors could bypass banks or stock exchanges completely.
Switzerland is actively supporting crypto-related initiatives, adjusting its legal framework to industry needs in different areas, including banking.
In October, FINMA issued the country’s first cryptocurrency asset management license to a crypto investment fund. The license will allow it to offer a wide spectrum of collective investment products that track Bitcoin (BTC) and other crypto assets. And in November, local startup SEBA Crypto AG, aiming to create a bank offering cryptocurrency-related services, revealed it is expecting to receive a banking license from FINMA in 2019.
Prior to that, Singapore Exchange Limited (SGX), along with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), have successfully tested the use of blockchain for tokenized assets settlement. The trial was conducted in partnership with U.S. stock market Nasdaq and “big four” consulting company Deloitte.