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ASX boosts investment in blockchain firm

ASX has invested a further US$10 million in Digital Asset, a firm specialising in blockchain-inspired digital ledger technology (DLT).

The move brings its total equity investment in the company to US30.9 million.

Digital Asset said today that it had raised over US$35 million in its Series C round.


The company’s DLT platform and the associated open source Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) are underpinning the ASX’s project to replace its aging CHESS post-trade settlement system.

“ASX is a strong believer in Digital Asset and its strategy of developing the open source DAML smart contract language, and enabling applications written in it to operate across many different types of distributed ledgers,” ASX deputy CEO Peter Hiom said in a statement.

“We are encouraged by the support of existing and new investors in this fundraising. This confirms our own faith in the company and its future, and that’s why we have increased our stake.”

The DLT-based CHESS replacement system is expected to go live in April 2021. It will be based on a private, permissioned distributed ledger with segregated data.

Earlier this year ASX launched a development environment for the new system.

Beyond replacing the COBOL-based CHESS, ASX is also eyeing opportunities for DLT in other areas. The exchange operator in August revealed details of a memorandum of understanding with VMware to work on blockchain initiatives.

ASX has established a ‘DLT Solutions’ team that CEO Dominic Stevens says is “looking at other ways we can use our growing expertise to help customers identify how they might be able to benefit from using a distributed ledger.”

Digital Asset was established in 2014 and has so far raised US$150 million. The new funding will be used to “accelerate the adoption of DAML across multiple industries, expand the number and variety of DAML-enabled partner products and fund new products designed to enhance the DAML developer experience, specifically project:DABL , a cloud-based prototyping and production environment for DAML applications,” the company said in a statement.

“DAML allows you to focus only on what you need to do to differentiate your product and eliminate the complexity that doesn’t provide value to your organization,” Digital Asset CEO and co-founder Yuval Rooz said.

“Ninety per cent of development time is wasted on undifferentiated work. With this new funding we will go further on this mission to focus on the 10 percent value-add by providing a world class smart contract experience regardless of where your application runs.”