Watch out Wall Street: Blockchain startup gains $30m from banking heavyweights

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Chain, a San Francisco-based startup specialising in blockchain technology, has received $30m from a funding round that includes some of the world’s largest financial corporations, including Visa, Citi Ventures and Nasdaq.

‘Next-generation financial networks’

According to Adam Ludwin, CEO and co-founder of Chain, using ‘‘open source protocols which extend bitcoin, we can send any type of value the same way: stocks, reward points, prepaid minutes, stored value cards, dollars, etc.’’

The fintech group aims to ‘partner with leading organizations to build next-generation financial networks’, as it looks to abolish Wall Street bureaucracy when dealing with financial securities.

The funding round also included Capital One, Fiserv and French telecommunications firm Orange among others. They are all hoping that blockchain, the ledger that underpins bitcoin, will transform how the sector processes a range of financial transactions.

Nasdaq has already been working with Chain, as in June the two companies collaborated on ways to redesign how private company securities are transferred and secured.

‘‘As blockchain technology continues to redefine not only how the exchange sector operates, but the global financial economy as a whole, Nasdaq aims to be at the center of this watershed development,’’ explained Bob Greifeld, Nasdaq’s CEO.

The ultimate disruptor?

A number of Chain’s recent investors have talked in detail about their decision to collaborate with the blockchain group, with Rameek Guptra, MD of Citi Ventures, stating that ‘‘blockchain technology represents a fundamental, generational shift for financial services, and Chain’s platform is enabling and accelerating this transformation.’’

In order to dictate the financial market, for example choosing how stocks are transferred amongst investors, Chain will need to work closely with a range of financial institutions.

The devil is in the details,” said Houman Shadab, a law professor at New York Law School in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “There’s a lot of work to do in building a consensus on how to do it and migrating existing technologies onto a new and untested platform.”

Chain and its new investors are also looking into establishing a blockchain Working Group, in order to explore how the technology can continue to innovate the financial sector.

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