DTCC’s blockchain T+0 settlement platform hits milestones in live parallel production

Project Ion is now live in parallel production environment as the DTCC seeks to bring DLT to settlement and enable netted T+0.

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation’s (DTCC) has announced that its distributed ledger technology (DLT) based settlement platform has gone live in a parallel production environment, processing up to 160,000 transactions per day.

Project Ion has been in the works since May 2020, with a view to support a netted T+0 settlement cycle, as well as T+2, T+1 and extended cycles.

Going live in parallel to existing settlement infrastructure, the project is processing an average of over 100,000 bilateral equity transactions per day, and almost 160,000 transactions on peak days. The Depository Trust Company’s (DTC) classic settlement systems remaining the authoritative record.

The project has been developed in collaboration with the likes of BNY Mellon, Citi and JP Morgan.

“This is a milestone achievement for the equity markets and reflects the deep level of collaboration and partnership between DTCC and our clients,” said Murray Pozmanter, managing director, president of DTCC clearing agency services and head of global business operations.

“Project Ion is an important step forward in advancing digitalisation in financial markets and opens the door to exciting, new opportunities to drive greater efficiencies, risk management and cost savings for the industry. Digitised assets and emerging technology like DLT are shaping and evolving the financial services landscape, and we remain committed to advancing innovative solutions that capitalise on opportunities, deliver new value and drive the industry forward.”

The goal of Project Ion – the DTCC said – is to ultimately provide a “resilient, secure and scalable alternative settlement service” to clients, with the option to leverage DLT for those firms who wish to take advantage of the emerging technology.

DTCC partnered with leading enterprise technology provider R3 to develop and launch the Project Ion platform leveraging R3’s Corda DLT software.

The project has been timely, given the pressure for the industry to consider T+0, balanced with the industry pushback around the benefits of end-of-day netting.

With the production parallel now live, DTCC said it is working closely with its clients on a phased expansion of the platform. Future enhancements may include additional DTC activities and capabilities as well as the expansion of Project Ion to DTCC subsidiary National Securities Clearing Corporation (NSCC) to take advantage of NSCC’s central counterparty (CCP) trade guarantee for every cleared transaction.

“Project Ion provides a parallel book and infrastructure for limited bilateral transactions, with DTC’s existing systems remaining the authoritative source of transactions. With firms across the industry at different levels of maturity around DLT adoption, DTCC is building this platform to provide optionality and flexibility to clients. Those who are ready to leverage the Project Ion platform can begin development efforts today while others can continue to use our classic solutions,” added Michele Hillery, general manager of equity clearing and DTC Settlement Service at DTCC.