Australia's ASX delays blockchain transition by 6 months

Sept 4 (Reuters) - Australian markets operator ASX Ltd said on Tuesday it has delayed its switchover to blockchain technology by six months to devote more time for user development and testing.

Last year, ASX said it would replace its registry, settlement and clearing system with blockchain technology to cut costs for customers.

The decision to replace the Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) on Australia’s main bourse follows two years of testing of distributed ledger technology, also known as blockchain.

The move will make the Australian Securities Exchange one of the biggest mainstream financial markets to use the relatively new ledger system, best known as the technology underpinning the bitcoin cryptocurrency.

Blockchain is a shared, verifiable and permanent record of data that is maintained by a network of computers.

The markets operator said it will push the launch date from the fourth quarter of 2020 to around March-April 2021.

ASX decided to defer industry-wide testing by six months and also extended mandatory accreditation by the same time limit.

In January 2016, ASX bought a minority stake in a U.S. blockchain developer Digital Asset Holdings, positioning itself to become the first stock exchange in the world to use distributed ledger technology for public companies. (Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)