This discussion paper is the third in the Financial Markets Department’s series on the structure of Canadian financial markets. These papers are called “ecologies” because they study the interactions among market participants, infrastructures, regulations and the terms of the traded contract itself.
Can securities be settled on a blockchain and, if so, what are the gains relative to existing settlement systems? We consider a blockchain that ensures delivery versus payment by linking transfers of assets with payments and operates using a proof-of-work protocol. The main benefit of a blockchain is faster and more flexible settlement, whereas the challenge is to avoid settlement fails when participants fork the chain to get rid of trading losses.