German capital markets firm Deutsche Börse has created a team dedicated to studying the potential of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, according to a recently released interview with Jens Hachmeister, the head of the new team.
Hachmeister claims that Deutsche Börse has been active in the cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem in the past. This activity includes cooperating with international central securities depositories on use cases for blockchain platforms and executable distributed code contracts (aka "smart contracts").
"Deutsche Börse has been active with the technology in a first phase of ideation and exploration," Hachmeister said in the interview. "We invested in various initiatives to create a sound understanding of the trends, the technology and its potential within the traditional segments of our value chain."
In an effort to move into the next phase of research, Deutsche Börse has established a 24-person team dedicated to analyzing secure data and finding use cases and efficiencies for the emerging technology.
Hachmeister went on to say, "From Deutsche Börse's point of view, the DLT/blockchain technology is a key opportunity for the creation of new market structures, adding new products onto our present structures and enhancing our existing offerings… In that regard, blockchain has the potential to disrupt the capital markets infrastructure."
In addition to creating this new research group, Deutsche Börse has acquired a minority stake in the liquidity and collateral management company HQLAx, according to an August 28, 2018, press release. That release states that in March, Deutsche Börse partnered with HQLAx to develop a securities lending solution utilizing the R3 Corda blockchain platform. According to the press release, onboarding of the initial participating banks has launched and discussions with regulatory authorities have commenced.
Acquiring a minority stake in HQLAx allowed Deutsche Börse two seats on the liquidity company's board, which will be filled by Hachmeister and Philippe Seyll, who oversees Deutsche Börse's global securities financing business.
Deutsche Börse hopes the acquisition of a minority stake in HQLAx will strengthen the collaboration between the two companies and add value to the research and initiatives that are currently in development.
For more than a year, Deutsche Börse has been looking into blockchain technology's potential to improve the financial services industry. In January of 2017, ETHNews reported that Deutsche Börse had joined the Liquidity Alliance on a project to utilize blockchain technology to ease cross-border mobilization of security collateral. Additionally, in March of 2017, it was reported that the Deutsche Bundesbank and Deutsche Börse presented a prototype of a blockchain platform intended to facilitate security payments.