Digital innovations in finance, loosely known as fintech, have garnered a great deal of attention across the financial industry. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is one such innovation that has been cited as a means of transforming payment, clearing, and settlement (PCS) processes, including how funds are transferred and how securities, commodities, and derivatives are cleared and settled. DLT is a term that has been used by the industry in a variety of ways and so does not have a single definition. Because there is a wide spectrum of possible deployments of DLT, this paper will refer to the technology as some combination of components including peer-to-peer networking, distributed data storage, and cryptography that, among other things, can potentially change the way in which the storage, recordkeeping, and transfer of a digital asset is done.
An important goal of this paper is to examine how this technology might be used in the area of payments, clearing, and settlement and to identify both the opportunities and challenges facing its practical implementation and possible long-term adoption.