Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has launched a project to make cross-border securities transactions in the Asia-Pacific region more efficient and secure through the use of blockchain technology.

It will seek to develop ways to directly connect central banks and securities depositories in the ASEAN Plus Three region within a blockchain network, the ADB said in a statement on January 26.

The ADB said directly connecting the institutions within a blockchain network could reduce both transaction costs and settlement risks. However, there might be the possibility that securities are not exchanged within an agreed time frame.

Cross-border securities transactions in the ASEAN 3 region are currently processed through a global network of custodians and correspondent banks, which go through global centres in either the United States or Europe. As a result, intraregional transaction settlements in ASEAN Plus Three take at least two days, due to varying operating hours for markets within the same time zone, it added.

The ADB said the project will be carried out in two phases including a designing phase which is expected to be completed by the end of March 2022, and a prototyping phase, scheduled for the second quarter of 2022.

The results will be discussed with ASEAN Plus Three government officials and members of the Cross-Border Settlement Infrastructure Forum of the Asian Bond Markets Initiative, made up of central banks and securities depositories from across the region, it said.

The ASEAN 3 region consists of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus Japan, China and the Republic of Korea./.