Doubt Cast on ASX Blockchain Trial as CEO Resigns

The ASX CEO who championed the company’s adoption of blockchain tech has resigned, prompting questions about its blockchain work.

AccessTimeIconMar 22, 2016 at 4:35 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:11 p.m. UTC
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The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) CEO who championed the company's adoption of blockchain technology has resigned amid accusations of bribery against his previous company.

In the search for a replacement, it remains to be seen if Elmer Funke Kupper's resignation will impact a wide range of plans for the exchange. Local news sources are already beginning to speculate the transition could impact those that were perhaps more controversial, such as its investment in blockchain technology.

For example, a report by The Australian today cited analysts that indicated Funke Kupper's successor may be likely to review the ASX's decision to fund blockchain development.

The report reads:

"ASX is due to review the investment and decide whether to proceed next year. Deputy chief executive Peter Hiom yesterday said the exchange did not want to 'put its neck out' but wanted to see the development of a common standard for all market operators."

A representative from independent investment analyst Morningstar, told the report that a new CEO may decide whether such a strategy was "worthwhile", and that costs could be revisited.

"I can see the merits in trying to be the first in the world but it is a small exchange and the cost might be too much," analyst Nathan Zaia said.

ASX joined a group of international investors, including JPMorgan and Santander InnoVentures in a $50m investment in blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings, in January.

ASX invested a total of 14.9m Australian dollars to acquire a 5% stake in the company and fund early development for its blockchain project.

Allegations

Funke Kupper has denied any wrongdoing and his previous company, Tabcorp Holdings, has made no admission regarding the allegations, according to a Business Spectator report.

Previously, Funke Cooper had worked as CEO of Tabcorp, a Melbourne-based entertainment company.  Tabcorp allegedly paid $200,000 to a consulting company associated with the Cambodia’s Prime Minister’s family.

The payment in question would have coincided with an investigation into a potential online gaming license.

Digital Asset Holdings did not respond to requests for further comment.

ASX image via Shutterstock

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