This week, the security token sector got a jolt of energy after the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) unveiled two new blockchain programs. The programs are meant to study distributed ledger technology (DLT) and how it can improve the current settlement processes. The news marks a turning point in blockchain integration as the DTCC processes quadrillions worth of securities transactions yearly.
DTCC Projects Underway
According to reports, DTCC has two DLT initiatives already in the works. The two projects, Ion and Whitney, leverage blockchain technology to improve upon the current business models. For example, Ion is a proof-of-concept alternative settlement service. The platform will work as a stress test indicator to verify the scalability of blockchain settlement systems under heavy traffic. The protocol is the result of years of research. In 2018, the public got a glimpse into the project as DTCC announced the results of a benchmark study. The report demonstrated for the first time that DLT is capable of supporting average daily trading volumes in the US equity market.
Ion is the DTCC’s new blockchain settlement protocol. Impressively, the platform is said to be able to handle quadrillions of transactions. Interestingly, Ion developers ran this concept for 12 weeks with mixed reviews. For example, in their report developers acknowledged scaling issues that emerge during development. Despite some bugs, the proof-of-concept served its purpose as a benchmark tester for DLT tech. Importantly, the platform utilized the Ethereum network. This decision makes sense as Ethereum is known for its developer-friendly ecosystem.
Ion is now moving on to the next stage in its development. DTCC executives are now on the lookout for a “technical stack” to bring the platform to life. Additionally, the DTCC already offered to start testing APIs of other firms within the ecosystem. This decision is sure to help bolster the security token sector as more developers make the leap into distributed applications (Dapps).
The second platform the DTCC plans to examine is Whitney. This private securities market’s design is a combination of features from the private and public securities markets. Developers hope to bring more traditional investment firms to the STO sector with this maneuver.
Importantly, Whitney is a full security token ecosystem. The platform supports the issuance, distribution, and exchange of securities on the blockchain. Consequently, smart contracts integrated with compliance mechanisms are built throughout the protocol. Notably, the DTCC stated it will also keep records of every transaction stored off the blockchain as a security measure. While this decision seems redundant, it does reveal the level of caution the firm plans to exercise.
In a public interview, the managing director of business Innovation at DTCC, Jennifer Peve discussed the main goals of the projects. She started with an explanation of how the private securities markets lack transparency. Importantly, Reg D securities have far fewer regulations than publicly traded securities. She explained the DTCC plans to use the data gained from the platforms to build a next-generation securities clearing system.
The Time is Now
Peve, like many in the market, believes the time is ideal to leverage emerging technologies. Its true, blockchain provides intuitive minds a gateway to develop completely new solutions to many of the inefficiencies plaguing the market. For now, it’s exciting to hear a securities powerhouse such as the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) already has plans to upgrade their systems in the near future.