Investment Operations

DLT INFRASTRUCTURE PROCESSING OVER 100,000 TRADES PER DAY

Project Ion represents one of the largest DLT initiatives in equities settlement across the financial services industry

DTCC has selected R3’s Corda as the underlying DLT technology for the Project Ion platform

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) confirmed today that its Project Ion platform, which is being developed as an alternative settlement platform leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT), has gone live in a parallel production environment. The platform, DTCC said in a statement, is now parallel processing an average of over 100,000 bilateral equity transactions per day, and almost 160,000 transactions on peak days, with DTCC subsidiary, The Depository Trust Company’s (DTC’s), classic settlement systems remaining the authoritative record.

According to DTCC, the private, permissioned DLT platform was developed in collaboration with many of the world’s leading market participant and technology provider firms, including Apex Clearing Corp., Barclays, BNY Mellon, Charles Schwab Corp., Citadel Securities, Citi, Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Fidelity Investments, Fnality International, Goldman Sachs & Co., J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley & Co, Raymond James Financial Inc., Robinhood Securities LLC, State Street Corporation, and Virtu Financial Inc.

The goal of Project Ion, said a spokesperson, 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.

“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 digitalization in financial markets and opens the door to exciting, new opportunities to drive greater efficiencies, risk management and cost savings for the industry,” Pozmanter said. “Digitized assets and emerging technology like DLT are shaping and evolving the financial services landscape, and we remain committed to advancing innovative solutions that capitalize on opportunities, deliver new value and drive the industry forward,” he added.

Pozmanter said Project Ion is being designed to adhere to rigorous regulatory standards and deliver the resiliency, volume capacity, security, scalability and risk controls that DTCC is known for. Project Ion is also being built to support a netted T+0 settlement cycle, as well as T+2, T+1 and extended settlement cycles.

“Project Ion provides a parallel book and infrastructure for limited bilateral transactions, with DTC’s existing systems remaining the authoritative source of transactions,” said Michele Hillery, General Manager of Equity Clearing and DTC Settlement Service at DTCC. “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,” Hillery said.

With the production parallel now live, DTCC says it is working closely with its clients on a phased expansion of the platform and the Project Ion platform will continue to be enhanced according to client and industry needs. Future enhancements, said DTCC, 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.