On January 16, 2018, SWIFT, the Belgium-based "global provider of secure financial messaging services," announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with seven central securities depositories (CSDs) to collaborate on distributed ledger technology (DLT) implementations. SWIFT expects to add more members to the CSD Working Group on DLT in the near future.
Current participants include:
• United Arab Emirates' Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange
• Argentina's Caja de Valores
• Chile's Depósito Central de Valores
• Nasdaq Market Technology AB
• Russia's National Settlement Depository
• Switzerland's SIX Securities Services
• South Africa's Strate Ltd.
The group plans to "work together to demonstrate how distributed ledger technology could be implemented in post-trade scenarios, such as corporate actions processing, including voting and proxy-voting." Furthermore, they will investigate how present standards can support these applications. Today's release specifically mentions adherence to "existing common standards" like ISO 20022, an International Organization for Standardization standard for electronic data interchange between financial institutions.
SWIFT explains that today, "securities processing, particularly in areas requiring multi-party contact, involve extremely cumbersome manual processes that can carry significant inherent cost and risk."
"The promise of [distributed ledger] technology on paper is great, but it is currently missing a key component around standardization," said Stephen Lindsay, head of standards at SWIFT. "There is clear value in re-using established business definitions and facilitating interoperability amongst DLT implementations, which this project will demonstrate."
ETHNews previously reported on how the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's senior vice president, Jim Cunha, views the potential competition to major financial industry players like SWIFT. "I don't see the technology personally disrupting SWIFT," said Cunha. "I may see it creating competition or making them be better, but I don't see the future of SWIFT going away."