Four executives representing a collective effort by the Bank of Canada (BoC), TMX Group, Payments Canada, and Accenture presented a main-stage keynote on the findings of Project Jasper's third phase at the recent Payments Canada Summit in Toronto.
Project Jasper is described by the BoC as "a collaborative research initiative between the public and private sectors to understand how distributed ledger technology (DLT) could transform the wholesale payments system."
While phases one and two focused on clearing and settlement of high-value interbank payments via DLT, this latest effort analyzed the potential benefits from integrating "cash on ledger" with elements like foreign exchange and securities.
Key points revolved around the expanded scope of research and development into Project Jasper's DLT, including a new "integrated DLT securities and payment settlement platform" that distinguishes between "delivery vs. payment."
The message from the main stage was clear: It is feasible to use blockchain technology for automatic and immediate securities settlements.
"This shows that it is possible to deliver payments in a way that has never been done before – by directly swapping cash from buyers to sellers, resulting in instant settlements," said CEO of Payments Canada Gerry Gaetz, who is familiar with the phase three results but did not participate in the keynote speech.
Drawing more conservative conclusions, keynote participant and senior special director at the BoC Scott Hendry said, "We're still uncertain after doing this work that there are significant savings possible for participants." He then noted, "It's not clear that all the participant dealers and banks are going to get a significant benefit out of this settlement system."