Wall Street Veteran Blythe Masters Appointed to Phunware Board of Directors

Former CEO of Digital Asset, CFO of J.P. Morgan’s Investment Bank and Chair Emeritus of Linux Hyperledger Project Appointed as Certified Financial Expert

Phunware, Inc. (NASDAQ: PHUN) (the “Company”), a fully-integrated enterprise cloud platform for mobile that provides products, solutions, data and services for brands worldwide, today announced the appointment of Blythe Masters to its Board of Directors.

Blythe Masters is an experienced financial services and technology executive and currently an Industry Partner at the private equity and venture capital firm Motive Partners. She is the former CEO of Digital Asset – provider of the world’s leading smart contract language DAML – which she led from a startup in 2015 until 2018, serving customers including the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). She is Chair Emeritus of the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Project, International Advisory Board Member of Santander Group, Board Member of OpenBank and Advisory Board Member of the United States Chamber of Digital Commerce, Figure Technologies – the blockchain-powered consumer financial products company – and the residential mortgage exchange, Maxex.

Blythe was previously a senior executive at J.P. Morgan, which she left after 27 years in 2014, following the successful sale of the physical commodities business which she built. Blythe was a member of the Corporate & Investment Bank Operating Committee and the firm’s Executive Committee. Positions at J.P. Morgan included Head of Global Commodities, Head of Corporate & Investment Bank Regulatory Affairs, CFO of the Investment Bank, Head of Global Credit Portfolio and Credit Policy & Strategy, Head of North American Structured Credit Products, Co-Head of Asset Backed Securitization and Head of Global Credit Derivatives Marketing.

Blythe is a past Chair of the Global Financial Markets Association (GFMA), the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the public consumer finance company Santander Consumer Holdings Inc. (NYSE: SC).

Blythe is currently Co-Chair of the Global Fund for Women, Vice Chair of ID2020, Advisory Board Member and past Board Member of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Board Member of the Feminist Institute, and former Chair of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Blythe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Cambridge.

“We are incredibly excited and honored to have appointed Blythe to our Board of Directors,” said Alan S. Knitowski, President, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Phunware. “Her background on Wall Street and her operational credentials and pedigree speak for themselves.”

The Phunware Board of Directors unanimously approved the appointment of Blythe Masters as the Company’s Certified Financial Expert, including her appointment as Chair of the Audit Committee and Member of the Compensation Committee.

“I am looking forward to helping Phunware become a household name on both Wall Street and Main Street,” said Blythe Masters. “The Company sits at the intersection of mobile, cloud, big data and blockchain and I look forward to contributing to its efforts in becoming the global enterprise platform standard for Fortune 1000 digital transformation initiatives.”

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By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. We caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and that our actual results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, and developments in the industry in which we operate may differ materially from those made in or suggested by the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. In addition, even if our results or operations, financial condition and liquidity, and developments in the industry in which we operate are consistent with the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, those results or developments may not be indicative of results or developments in subsequent periods.

About Phunware, Inc.

Everything You Need to Succeed on Mobile — Transforming Digital Human Experience

Phunware, Inc. (NASDAQ: PHUN), is the pioneer of Multiscreen-as-a-Service (MaaS), an award-winning, fully integrated enterprise cloud platform for mobile that provides companies the products, solutions, data and services necessary to engage, manage and monetize their mobile application portfolios and audiences globally at scale. Phunware’s Software Development Kits (SDKs) include location-based services, mobile engagement, content management, messaging, advertising, loyalty (PhunCoin & Phun) and analytics, as well as a mobile application framework of pre-integrated iOS and Android software modules for building in-house or channel-based mobile application and vertical solutions. Phunware helps the world’s most respected brands create category-defining mobile experiences, with more than one billion active devices touching its platform each month. For more information about how Phunware is transforming the way consumers and brands interact with mobile in the virtual and physical worlds, visit https://www.phunware.com, https://www.phuncoin.com, https://www.phuntoken.com, and follow @phunware, @phuncoin and @phuntoken on all social media platforms.

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R3 And Digital Asset (DA) Agree To Integrate With Each Other For Maximizing Their Blockchains

In a unique shift in a strategic position, R3 and Digital Asset (DA) have come together with the goal of maximizing and optimizing the blockchain networks they are based on. The announcement came on Tuesday, which also confirmed that DA would incorporate the Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML) to R3’s Corda, and even to Hyperledger Fabric after DA’s tie-up Hyperledger Sawtooth in May.

CEO from Blythe Masters, the Wall Street Stalwart who left the company suddenly in December 2018. While speaking to the media, Rooz said,

Since I’ve taken over, we have had integration announcements with Sawtooth and VMWare, and what you are seeing now is a continuation of that strategy. Ledger providers see an opportunity to bring more business to their ledger because DAML allows developers to build applications much faster.

Apart from the collaboration with R3, DA will also enter a partnership with Amazon Aura, the e-commerce giant’s non-blockchain traditional cloud database service provider. This partnership comes on the backdrop of strong demand by DA’s customers. Rooz further added that DAML would enter into partnerships with many more traditional database service providers. This could happen because of its data-intensive business model. He also said,

We could actually capture a big piece of distributed applications today.

R3 co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Todd McDonald stated that Yuval Rooz was present at the first round table of R3. He added,

There were only about 20 people in the room. So we have been chatting for a long, long time. And one of the first companies we worked with was Dan’s old company, Hyperledger, before they were acquired. So there’s definitely a lot of overlap and back story.


Private Blockchain’s Biggest Startups Integrate in Unprecedented Tie-Up

A historic change in strategy is taking place at R3 and Digital Asset (DA), who are now collaborating to maximize their respective blockchain ecosystems.

Announced Tuesday, DA will be bringing its smart contract language DAML (Digital Asset Modelling Language) to R3’s Corda platform, as well as Hyperledger Fabric, following on from its Hyperledger Sawtooth tie-up last month.

DA co-founder Yuval Rooz had a tough act to follow, taking over as CEO from Wall Street legend Blythe Masters, who suddenly departed the company in December of last year.

He told CoinDesk:

“Since I’ve taken over, we have had integration announcements with Sawtooth and VMWare, and what you are seeing now is a continuation of that strategy. Ledger providers see an opportunity to bring more business to their ledger because DAML allows developers to build applications much faster.”

Another rather interesting partnership DA is kicking off is with Amazon Aurora, a non-blockchain traditional cloud database – driven by strong customer demand, said DA.

This echoes the AWS Quantum Ledger Database, which is also centralized and makes no pretensions towards being a bonafide blockchain. Rooz said he predicts more tie-ups between DAML and centralized database providers.

“We could actually capture a big piece of distributed applications today,” he said.

Stepping back

Stepping back to circa 2014-2015, firms like DA and R3 became pitted against one another, courting the same customers, and reminding them not to get caught in a Betamax versus VHS situation.

There also seemed to be a game of musical advisors playing out, as R3’s current CTO Richard Gendal Brown and Clearmatics head of research Tim Swanson advised the pre-Linux Foundation Hyperledger, which was acquired by Blythe Masters and Digital Asset Holdings as it was known then.

Later, Brown and Swanson joined R3 full time.

Dan O’Prey, CMO and head of DAML Community at DA, was also a co-founder of Hyperledger and remembers that back in the early days “out of necessity all companies looked like full stack providers so they had to build the ledger, they had to build the environment for smart contracts and solutions.”

The natural evolution of the blockchain space has required a change of strategy among firms noted O’Prey. For example, R3 made the strategic decision to focus on the platform with Corda, while DA is focused on a different layer of the stack, he said, adding:

“It’s fortunate for both of us we have decided to focus on different areas and that turns us from competitors to partners.”

Todd McDonald, R3 co-founder, and chief product officer agreed with this sentiment, but also highlighted how personality might have helped play a part. He told CoinDesk:

“The very first round table we had as R3, Yuval was there. There were only about 20 people in the room. So we have been chatting for a long, long time. And one of the first companies we worked with was Dan’s old company, Hyperledger, before they were acquired. So there’s definitely a lot of overlap and back story.”

R3’s Todd McDonald image via CoinDesk archives


Digital Asset’s Smart Contract Language Now Works on Hyperledger Blockchains

Enterprise blockchain firm Digital Asset is integrating its smart contract modeling language into the Hyperledger Sawtooth framework.

Announced Tuesday, this is the first melding of code between a project under the umbrella of the 200-member Hyperledger consortium and DA’s Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML), opening up the latter to a wider range of industries and prospective enterprise customers.

The news also marks the third DA partnership since DAML became open source earlier this month. Last week, DA announced the language would be integrated into the blockchain platform of Dell Computer-controlled software giant VMware, as well as highlighting work being done with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) to bring DA software within the ambit of ISDA’s Common Domain Model (CDM).

Dan O’Prey, CMO at Digital Asset, who is also chair of the Hyperledger marketing committee, said there are several reasons DA chose Sawtooth (contributed to Hyperledger by Intel) as the first point of integration for DAML.

O’Prey told CoinDesk:

“Sawtooth has been getting a lot of traction in markets outside of what has initially been our core focus: financial services and particularly market infrastructures. So this is a great way for us to expand the reach of DAML into other industries.”

Indeed, Sawtooth is the locus of interesting projects such as Grid, announced last year, a supply chain-focused effort being driven by food giant Cargill. More broadly, Sawtooth is the second-largest blockchain within Hyperledger in terms of developer firepower and enterprise backing, after Fabric, developed by IBM.

Another key reason is that DA has been working closely with Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP), which offers developers an easy-to-deploy and cloud-ready instance of Sawtooth via its blockchain management platform, Sextant.

In July of this year, BTP will offer an enhanced version of Sextant with DAML support on Amazon Web Services (AWS), with other cloud providers soon thereafter, noted O’Prey.

‘Far and wide’

While Sawtooth is first for DAML, O’Prey said his firm is “having conversations with various others within the Hyperledger framework and other platform providers.”

An obvious next step would be tying up with Hyperledger Fabric and its main platform partner, IBM.

“Our goal is to get DAML as far and as wide as possible and obviously Hyperledger Fabric has a very large user base and community of developers around it. So certainly this is high up on the list of where we would like to see support for DAML,” said O’Prey.

Dan Middleton, chairman of Hyperledger’s technical steering committee (TSC) and a Sawtooth maintainer, said the DAML integration shows the importance of modular architectures that allow for multiple projects to work together, a key vision for Hyperledger and a design tenet of Sawtooth.

Anticipating more in the way of integration partnerships in the coming weeks, DA has added a special “DAML Integration Kit” into its open source software development kit (SDK) to make it as smooth as possible to bring DAML’s smart contract “rule engine” into other platforms.

As such, smart contracts can be developed using traditional programming languages such as C++ or JavaScript; DAML is only for the smart contracts themselves, not the whole application that runs on the ledger, explained, O’Prey, adding:

“Our goal is to make it as self-service and easy as possible so that anyone can integrate DAML into whatever DLT platform, blockchain platform, database, cloud service or even public chain in the future.”

One of the most prominent players in the enterprise blockchain niche, DA is in the process of replacing the Australian Securities Exchange’s decades-old Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS) – a multi-year assignment it won under former CEO Blythe Masters. Co-founder Yuval Rooz succeeded her last month.

Computer code image via Shutterstock


Digital Asset Is Going Open Source With Its Core Software

The blockchain firm called Digital Asset has just open-sourced its very own Digital Asset Modelling Language or DAML. The latter is basically the beating heart of projects like ASX’s partial re-plumbing. Here is everything about it in a nutshell.

The Full DAML Experience

According to an official announcement, the move is going to see the startup allowing DAML to be freely available. As a result, this opens the door not only to its open source and runtime system, but it also should cover the software development kit or SDK. All of these, as per the announcement from the company, will be under an Apache 2.0 license.

The move appears to be a major strategy play from Digital Asset, especially since it had a rough couple of months after its former chief executive named Blythe Masters left. But according to the chief marketing officer of the New York-based company named Dan O’Prey, it has always been the firm’s intention to open source its code. However, it was just a matter of when the move will be made, not if.

In an interview, O’Prey said that the company is looking to cast the net wide. And contrary to popular belief, the move is not necessarily a “useless stripped down version” – it is indeed a full DAML. It is something that people will be able to extend, modify, fork, and/or even integrate with their own platform. And it does not matter whether it is a blockchain or a distributed ledger. The same thing can be said for any traditional database and cloud service.

The Hyperledger Connection

O’Prey is also known for being the co-founder and marketing chair of Hyperledger. He added that the move will allow Digital Asset to forge closer relationships with other enterprise players. Ultimately, this will enable the firm to further improve its longstanding relationship with Hyperledger, which is a Linux-affiliated consortium.

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The executive added that the firm is interested in working alongside the open source community of Hyperledger. With the idea of being open source and having it under an Apache 2.0 license, integrating with the different frameworks found within Hyperledger is going to be easier. The license, in particular, is deemed to be the standard license in the Linux Foundation.

According to the executive director of Hyperledger, Brian Behlendorf, he totally welcomes the idea of making DML open source. Pretty much like O’Prey, he is interested in exploring the many options when it comes to how DML can be integrated.


Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML) Goes Open Source as DA Firm Gets Closer to …

Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML) Goes Open Source as DA Firm Gets Closer to HyperledgerDigital Asset Modelling Language (DAML) Goes Open Source as DA Firm Gets Closer to Hyperledger

The cryptocurrency and blockchain startup Digital Asset has decided to open source its Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML). The intention is to open its source code and software development kit (SDK). The decision to open sourcing its DAML comes just sometime after the departure of its chief executive Blythe Masters.

Digital Asset Open Sources its Code

During a conversation with CoinDesk, Dan O’Prey, the chief marketing officer of Digital Asset, mentioned that the intention to open source the code is a question of when not if.

On the matter, he stated:

“So this isn’t a useless stripped down version, this is the full DAML that anyone can modify, extend, fork or even integrate DAML with their platform – whether it be a distributed ledger or blockchain or a traditional database or even a cloud service.”

O’Prey is also one of the co-founders of Hyperledger. He said that this move will help forge closer relations with other enterprise players in the space. He said that they are very keen to work with the open source community of Hyperledger. The executive director of Hyperledger is also welcoming the move to make DAML open source and they are analysing how it can be integrated with various Hyperledger blockchain frameworks.

Mr. O’Prey has also explained that they do not want to compete against the Ethereum based Quorum platform developed by JP Morgan Chase. Indeed, DAML could eventually run on top of Quorum, something that would make it similar to Solidity.

The firm is also working in order to expand its services beyond capital markets and reach other sectors such as healthcare. As Gopi Devalcheruvu, the vice president of technology at Change Healthcare said, DAML has been a powerful intuitive and easy to use to implement healthcare payments proof of concept.

Digital Asset Goes Open Source as Firm Eyes Closer Ties With Hyperledger

Blockchain startup Digital Asset is open sourcing its Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML), the beating heart of projects like the partial re-plumbing of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Announced Thursday, the move sees DA making DAML freely available – opening the door to its source code, its runtime system, and the software development kit (SDK), all under an Apache 2.0 license.

It’s a major strategy play from the New York City-based software firm which has had a shaky couple of months following the departure of chief executive Blythe Masters.

But Dan O’Prey, chief marketing officer, Digital Asset, said it was always the intention to open source the code; a question of when, not if. He told CoinDesk that the plan is now to cast the net wide, adding:

“So this isn’t a useless stripped down version, this is the full DAML that anyone can modify, extend, fork or even integrate DAML with their platform – whether it be a distributed ledger or blockchain or a traditional database or even a cloud service.”

Hyperledger connection

O’Prey, a co-founder of Hyperledger and its marketing chair, said the move will help forge closer relations with other enterprise players, making specific mention of DA’s longstanding relationship with the Linux-affiliated Hyperledger consortium.

“We are very keen to work with the Hyperledger open source community. Being open source and under the Apache 2.0 license – the standard license of the Linux Foundation – will make it much easier to integrate with the frameworks that are within Hyperledger,” said O’Prey.

Brian Behlendorf, the executive director of Hyperledger, echoed this sentiment, saying he welcomes the move to make DAML open source. “We look forward to exploring how DAML can be integrated with the various Hyperledger blockchain frameworks and tools,” he told CoinDesk.

A parallel can be drawn between DA’s move today with DAML and R3’s Corda, which began life in a closed proprietary platform only to later go open source, rapidly growing a Corda community of developers.

O’Prey acknowledged the success of Corda open source but pointed out that DAML is not directly competitive with Corda. “DAML could potentially run on Corda,” he said.

Regarding DA’s move to open up DAML, an R3 spokesman was equally convivial: “This is the right move. DLT is well-suited to open source, as we have seen with other industry-leading platforms.”

No tokens

Similarly, DA’s singular approach to smart contracts is not a competitor to ethereum-based Quorum, the enterprise platform built by JP Morgan engineers, noted O’Prey.

“Again, DAML could potentially run on Quorum. So it would be more competitive with Solidity which runs on the EVM [Ethereum Virtual Machine] and which Quorum supports,” he said.

O’Prey said the philosophy at DA is that smart contracts require their own language built from the ground up, as opposed to a derivation of Javascript in the case of Solidity.

He pointed out that DAML eschews the sort of tokenizing technology by which ethereum deals with digital assets, typically in the form of the ERC-20 standard, so that smart contracts can run programs to move these tokens around.

“DAML doesn’t use the token model at all,” said O’Prey. “DAML takes contracts and parties as first class citizens, so the way you model financial assets isn’t as a bearer instrument like cash that can just be moved between people, but it consists of the rights and obligations of an agreement, of what can actually happen in the future for that financial instrument.”

Healthy future

With DAML now out in the wild, so to speak, the firm is continuing to broaden its scope beyond capital markets into areas like healthcare, for instance.

Gopi Devalcheruvu, vice president of technology at Change Healthcare, said DAML had been a “powerful, intuitive and easy to use” in implementing a healthcare payments proof of concept.

“I am excited to hear that DAML will be open source, and look forward to seeing others have the ability to implement blockchain solutions using DAML and grow its adoption in the community,” said Devalcheruvu in a statement.

In addition, John Bass, CEO Hashed Health, said DAML’s focus on privacy was essential in navigating regulation. “We fully support the decision to open source DAML, as it will help us gain adoption through improved security, licensing, and support,” he said.

In conclusion, a DA spokeswoman confirmed the work ongoing with ASX to replace its CHESS system for cash equities was: “All systems go and on schedule.”

On the subject of funding, she would not talk specifically about whether the firm is raising another series but said it is always talking to investors, adding:

“The company goes on and we are very excited about the series of major market-changing announcements we have coming.”

Colorful code image via Shutterstock


Old dudes on the block: What IBM is doing with blockchain technology

The announcement of its Blockchain-as-a-Service platform came after the company had been exploring various ways it could participate in the blockchain space for over a year putting it in competition with other tech heavyweights like Oracle and newcomer Amazon.

In early 2016, IBM participated in a funding round which raised over $60 million for Digital Assets Holdings, a financial blockchain start-up founded by former JP Morgan Chase executive Blythe Masters.

Additionally, in the same year, it announced that it was handing over 44,000 lines of code to the Linux Foundation as it the open-source project. The software was to be used as part of the Hyperledger project. Though IBM had written the code independently, it decided to join the open-source Hyperledger project as the company believes that blockchain technology has the potential to be applicable in a wide array of industries and can be better explored in this setting.

Explaining the move the Senior Vice President of IBM Research Arvind Krishna stated: “In just a few short months, IBM’s vision for making blockchain a powerful new business solution across multiple industries is becoming a reality as our clients begin piloting innovative new code, services and Z-Systems [mainframe computers] optimized for distributed ledgers. These advancements are making it easier for developers to move from understanding the potential of blockchain, to actually using it to change their business processes in powerful new ways.”

The Hyperledger Project: Fabric vs Composer

Following IBMs decision to participate in the Hyperledger project, the company began to offer a Blockchain-as-a-Service platform for its clients. It is important to note that the Hyperledger project is an open-source project that is supported by over 185 companies. It is also governed openly by the Linux foundation. The alliance of corporations who are part of the project is dedicated to advancing the use of decentralized ledger technology.

The Hyperledger operation currently has eight ongoing projects. However, IBM mainly focuses on two of the projects for its BaaS solution. These are Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer.

Hyperledger Fabric is a framework through which it is possible to build blockchains that are able to adequately adapt to any industry. Fabric is designed to be used as a standardized and battle-tested blockchain base for creating platforms in a way that does not require a high learning curve for the companies seeking to integrate them. In addition, the Hyperledger Fabric architecture allows for smart contract operability. “Hyperledger Fabric allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. Hyperledger Fabric leverages container technology to host smart contracts called chaincode that comprise the application logic of the system.”

In contrast to the virtually-completed blockchain offered through the Fabric framework, Hyperledger Composer is a tool designed to be used to build business networks based on the blockchain. Composer is written in the JavaScript language but makes use of modern tools such as node.js, npm, CLI. While Hyperledger Composer is used by developers, it can also be easily understood by business owners looking to create their own blockchain-based applications and smart contracts.

Why use IBM’s blockchain platform?

While IBM uses the projects developed within the Linux Foundation in its BaaS platform, it provides a greater level of features than when the software is accessed directly from the Linux Foundation.

IBM provides its BaaS platform as a cloud-based solution. The company believes that this provides prospective clients with a greater level of ease and security in comparison to other blockchain solutions. The company offers the platform at different price levels depending on the needs of the firm. To encourage startups to integrate blockchain technology into their operations, the company offers a starter plan that is cost-free for a period of thirty days.

In addition, the company offers its clients access to its in-house developers who help use the Hyperledger tools and framework so as to create a decentralized ledger that is well suited to the clients’ needs.

Who is using IBM’s blockhain platform?

Due to the fact that the IBM blockchain solution is permissioned and able to scale, it is well suited for big companies. As a result of its features, a number of well-known companies are using the platform.

To begin with, a group of leading banks in Europe have partnered with IBM to provide a solution that will help simplify cross-border trades for small and medium enterprises. The group is called the Digital Trade Chain Consortium and is made up of Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and Unicredit.

Furthermore, global transport and logistics company Maersk announced its collaboration with IBM to create a blockchain-based solution for shipping. This collaboration is aimed at making the global supply chain more efficient through reducing unnecessary costs as well as increasing the processing speeds. The joint effort will also include input from a number of stakeholders involved in the global shipping process.

IBM’s integration of blockchain in the supply chain

Lastly, a group of companies involved in the food supply sector are working with IBM in order to substantiate ways through which the blockchain can be used to make the food trade safer for consumers. The consortium includes leading names such as Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever, and Walmart amongst others. Moreover, the project will also focus on ways through which business projects can be streamlined leading to greater profits.

IBM has also just revealed a partnership with jewellery-maker Richline Group – a part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway group of companies – to track the provenance of their precious metals and diamonds to ensure that they are ethically sourced. Dubbed Trustchain, the project includes other companies involved in the supply-chain from precious metal refiners and suppliers to jewellry retailers.

The BaaS sector is steadily growing, as is evidenced by the entry of companies like Oracle and Amazon into the sector. It is arguable that this is an indicator of the burgeoning interest and demand for blockchain-based business solutions. This also communicates a greater level of understanding of the virtues of blockchain technology and IBM is leading the mission to preach the technology.


Blythe Masters’ Next Move: Blockchain SDKs for Global Finance

Blockchain startup Digital Asset has revealed a new project aimed at streamlining the way systemically important financial infrastructures access its technology.

Led by former JP Morgan global commodities boss Blythe Masters, the startup is in the process of packaging its custom smart contract language DAML into easy-to-use software development kits (SDKs) for customers.

Already an active ingredient in its existing partnerships (such as its work with the Australian Securities Exchange), the creation of the SDKs stands to accelerate the rate new financial infrastructure providers can build with the technology, Masters says.

An early version of the kits are now being explored by the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation (DTCC), a Digital Asset investor, and Masters told CoinDesk that “tens” of other companies are building with the technology.

As the number of enterprise-grade blockchain platforms grows, the advent of tools to simplify development could not only prove to give competing platforms an edge but a new way to generate revenue.

Masters said:

“We’ve taken that same tooling, which our developers use, packaged it into something called a software developers kit, and are making that available to customers, progressively, more of them over time.”

DTCC collaboration

To get things started, Digital Asset is working with the DTCC to both refine the SDKs and teach the financial infrastructure provider how to use the technology.

As revealed on stage for the first time last week, DTCC chief architect, Rob Palatnick, described the technology as a way to “construct smart contracts very cleanly,” and with a wide range of potential use cases.

“Now we’re figuring out all the different business opportunities within the DTCC in support of the industry, where it might be best applied,” said Palatnick at the DTCC Fintech Symposium.

For her part, Masters described the latest DTCC collaboration as “a training process,” one wherein they learned how to use the SDK and are now building example applications. Going forward, Digital Asset expects to learn from other early SDK tests so as to make it easier for other platform providers to interoperate with ASX and each other.

As the SDKs are “polished” through the DTCC work and the other unnamed projects, Master’s expects to open up access even further.

“Once that beta version is enhanced to the first release stage, which will be very soon, we will be opening that up to more customers,” she said.

Connecting the world

Stepping back, Digital Asset’s work is also part of an industry-wide effort to make enterprise blockchain solutions interoperable.

While Digital Asset has still not contributed its own work to the Hyperledger blockchain consortium, Masters serves as chair of the organization that is seeing increaasing interoparability between its members.

In addition, one of Digital Asset’s largest competitors, distributed ledger consortium, R3, has open-sourced its own Corda platform and is preparing to make a number of live releases this year.

While Masters wouldn’t discuss details about ongoing projects to help move more of the financial infrastructure to this nascent network of interoperable blockchains, she hinted at the potential benefits of doing so.

“Today, CHESS and Austraclear are two totally distinct systems, different interfaces, and the opportunity would be for there to essentially be one,” said Masters, adding:

“Whether it’s two instances of the same technology or a single instance of the technology that handles both, remains to be seen.”

Image via Michael del Castillo for CoinDesk

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.


Digital Asset Raises over $40M in Series B Financing

Digital Asset, a NYC-based provider of Distributed Ledger Technology for the financial services industry, raised over $40m in Series B financing.

The round, which brings total funding to over $110m, was led by Jefferson River Capital.

The company intends to use the funds to expand its global presence.

Founded in 2014 and led by CEO Blythe Masters and newly added Chief Information Officer & CTO of Engineering Clyde Rodriguez, Digital Asset provides a Distributed Ledger platform developed according to the production requirements of the world’s largest financial infrastructures.

The company has over 130 employees in offices in New York, London, Zurich, Budapest, Sydney and Hong Kong, serving global clients like the ASX and DTCC.

Since launch, Digital Asset has acquired four companies: Hyperledger, Bits of Proof, Blockstack and Elevence. In 2016, it became a founding premier member of the Linux Foundation’s open source initiative Hyperledger, to drive the adoption and standardization of Distributed Ledger Technology.