CSDs in Russia and South Africa connecting with shared ledger technology iStock

The central securities depositories (CSDs) of Russia and South Africa are working together on a shared ledger technology project. Strate, South Africa's CSD, and Russia's National Settlement Depository (NSD), signed a Letter of Intent at Sibos, Geneva (26-29 September); the first use case will be focused on proxy voting, said a statement.

Proxy voting has been picked off as an antiquated, costly and time consuming area of capital markets that can be streamlined by blockchain-like systems. The project will explore information sharing regarding standards, regulations and DLT technologies and the associated cost savings.

A number of other CSDs have expressed interest in joining the partnership and Strate/NSD have welcomed these discussions, said a statement.

Monica Singer, CEO of Strate, said: "It is an important time for CSDs to be working together to define the future landscape in the DLT environment. Strate looks forward to developing this long-standing and valuable relationship with NSD to develop solutions for emerging market CSDs".

Eddie Astanin, chairman of the executive board, NSD, said: "We believe that the securities settlement and custody industry is one of the promising sectors where we can use new technologies. I think that post-trading may become the starting point of transition of the distributed ledger technology and blockchain from theory to practice. In 2015, we began research and initiated new developments; since that time we have developed valuable expertise in this sphere, and now we are eager to share it with our colleagues. "

In April 2016, National Settlement Depository was apparently one of the first financial organisations in the world that announced the development of a blockchain-based prototype of e-proxy voting.

Astanin added that "fast development of technologies and the huge number of startups that enter the market every month is a challenge of our time for major companies. We have to be one step ahead of everyone else and to use the opportunities we have now. Only the united efforts of the largest players in our industry will enable them to respond to new challenges and integrate new technologies."