The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) will soon be offering cryptocurrencies as tradeable assets for clients.
The company said Tuesday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with blockchain startup Blockstation for the creation of a new digital assets trading platform. While it is not clear which tokens will be initially listed, the platform is set to go live by the end of the year.
In interview, JSE managing director Marlene Street Forrest said that offering cryptocurrencies as investment products fits in with the equities, bonds and other investment products that the exchange already offers.
Forrest told CoinDesk:
"The end game at the end of the day is to trade tokens, the end game is smart contracts, the end game is to provide that area of the market that would like this product, to start to do so in a secure manner."
Blockstation is providing the technology, she explained, while the JSE's infrastructure will be networked to the new platform, allowing qualified investors to conduct purchases or trades.
Aside from listing cryptocurrencies for trade, Street Forrest said the stock exchange will continue to look at how blockchain technology can benefit the platform and its clients, going so far as to indicate that JSE's plans may include issuing its own cryptocurrency at some time in the future.
"The environment changes, the entire ecosystem changes, so at that point in time that might be the case, [although] at this point in time that is not a discussion," she said.
Blockstation co-founder and chief enterprise architect Jai Waterman told CoinDesk that the startup has been working with the JSE for roughly six months in order to develop a custom version of its platform for the exchange. Specific requests from the JSE have included tools to track market manipulation and other regulatory needs, he noted.
"Our mission is to provide … a secure method of trading cryptocurrencies with broker-dealers and stock exchanges," he said. "We're providing the stock exchange the technology for a broker-dealer network and depository, so that from end-to-end, their life cycle of trading – just like with securities – they can do the exact same thing with blockchain and cryptocurrencies."
The JSE is in no rush, however, and is taking its time to ensure that the launch is safe for investors, Street Forrest said.
"We have a steering committee that was designed and formulated to look at the Blockstation product, to look at the blockchain technology in general and to go through the phases to ensure that we understand what we are getting involved with and are also trained in what this entire trading of cryptocurrency involves," she explained.
As such, she said, the exchange's integration of blockchain will be "gradual."
Jamaican dollar image via Shutterstock