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Jens Hachmeister: “We start to build the infrastructure today that is needed for the financial industry of tomorrow.”

12 Mar 2019

Jens Hachmeister: “We start to build the infrastructure today that is needed for the financial industry of tomorrow.”

We talked to Jens Hachmeister and Eric Leupold (New Market Structures Area) about the newly announced strategic partnership between Deutsche Börse, Swisscom and Sygnum to build a trusted digital asset ecosystem.

Deutsche Börse has just announced a new strategic partnership in the field of digital assets. What is the aim of this cooperation?

Hachmeister: We are very excited about this new strategic partnership, which is a major step towards the next generation of financial market infrastructure. To put it in a nutshell: The aim of this cooperation is to jointly build out and grow a trusted and regulatory compliant ecosystem for digital assets. 

Why did you choose to partner with Swisscom and Sygnum?

Eric Leupold and Jens Hachmeister (v.l.t.r.)

Leupold: Swisscom is the leading Swiss Information and Communication Technology (ICT) company. They proved their pioneering role in the digital asset universe as one of the first movers in the field of new technologies. Sygnum is a Swiss and Singapore-based financial technology company in the regulatory process to obtain a Swiss banking and securities dealer license. As a Fintech Start-up, they can be seen as the innovation “speed boat”, they provide deep digital asset know-how and innovation agility around distributed ledger technology and digital assets. 

Hachmeister: And – last but not least – as one of the leading market infrastructure provider worldwide and being highly regulated, we are experts in building, loading and operating transparent and highly secure capital markets. With our strategic growth focus on new technologies as part of the Roadmap 2020, it is a natural step to tap into these developments around Distributed Ledger Technology. I think we are in a prime position to build up the next evolution of financial markets infrastructure. 

Can you tell us more about the background? What is the driver behind building up this new financial market infrastructure? 

Hachmeister: The tokenization of assets as the next level of asset digitization is already transforming current economic landscapes. What we know as financial instruments today will be the digital assets of tomorrow. Moreover, in the future we will be able to tokenize all kinds of assets such as industrial goods, real estate or maybe even labour. The variety of assets will grow. The technical progress around Distributed Ledger Technology is evolving at a tremendous pace, but the respective infrastructure is lagging behind. We see a huge demand for a trusted, comprehensive, highly secure and regulatory compliant ecosystem for the emerging digital asset universe. This is exactly what we will tackle now.

What will this new ecosystem include?

Leupold: This ecosystem will consist of several building blocks, which are not so much different in substance from what we can provide in terms of traditional infrastructure. The core elements provided will include issuance, access to liquidity, banking services and a custody solution - all based on Distributed-Ledger-Technology in a regulatory compliant environment. Moreover, Deutsche Börse and Sygnum are currently conceptualizing the establishment of a listing and trading venue for digital assets.

The partnership also includes investments in the two companies Custodigit and daura. Can you tell us more about these companies and their contribution to the ecosystem?

Hachmeister: Custodigit is an expert in the field of secure Digital Asset storage and key management. The company was founded as a joint venture by Swisscom and Sygnum in 2018. Deutsche Börse will become one of the main shareholders of Custodigit AG. In the ecosystem, Custodigit AG will provide a technical solution for the custody of digital assets. The second company, daura AG, will run the issuance solution. The company has developed a platform that uses Distributed Ledger Technologies to issue, securely transfer and register Swiss SME-shares, thus enabling non-listed companies to access the capital markets. Deutsche Börse and Sygnum will also invest in and become shareholders of daura. Deutsche Börse will of course actively support the growth journey of both companies.

What will be the next steps?

Hachmeister: The foundation is laid; this newly established ecosystem is a first nucleus for the redefinition of financial markets and we are excited to be part of it. In this regard, it is important to keep in mind that building, loading and operating market infrastructure in our industry on current as well as on new technology is rather a marathon than a sprint. Deutsche Börse, Swisscom and Sygnum start to build the infrastructure today that is needed for the financial industry of tomorrow. The transaction is currently still subject to merger control clearance. However, the first products and services provided by the new ecosystem for digital assets are expected to be launched in the course of 2019.

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