Hong Kong Stock Exchange launches settlement platform powered by smart contracts

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Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), the operator of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Futures Exchange, and London Metal Exchange, is launching a novel equities settlement acceleration platform. Dubbed “Synapse,” the platform will utilize smart contracts in the DAML programming language to streamline post-trade flows and enhance operational efficiencies, according to the October 4 announcement. 

Synapse will be deployed on Stock Connect, an HKEX channel that enables international investors to access more than 1,000 Mainland Chinese stocks through routing in Hong Kong. “Average daily turnover of Northbound Stock Connect totalled RMB109.3 billion in the first half of 2023, up 5 per cent from a year earlier, and a 50 per cent increase from 2020 levels,” developers wrote.

HKEX will be linked to Hong Kong’s Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) through its Institutional Trade Processing (ITP) service, allowing for the central matching of cross-border transactions. Settlement instructions are then automatically generated and sent back to the Synapse platform, thus enhancing the trade confirmation workflow.

Under the silent nod of China’s central government, Hong Kong has been rapidly transforming itself as a hub for Web3 firms with the launch of retail trading for licensed crypto exchanges in August. However, the largest Ponzi scheme in Hong Kong’s history also occurred during this time, with an estimated $166 million worth of users’ funds embezzled by the JPEX crypto exchange. The investigation is ongoing. 

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