IBM Buys Into Digital Asset Holdings, a Blockchain Tech Company

Bloomberg recently reported that IBM, along with the Goldman Sachs Group Inc., made a move in the race to commercialize blockchain technology in financial markets. They both have invested in Digital Asset Holdings (DAH), one of a group of startups looking to break into the space. The newest investments bring the total sum raised by the company to $60 million, according to an official statement released on Feb. 2.

DAH Covers Australia

Today, the trading of securities relies on a central authority that coordinates the transfer of cash for traded shares. DAH wants to link all participants to the same database of transactions, which would allow almost real-time asset movement.

DAH is headed by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters. Its products serve the entire financial ecosystem through the creation of tailored business logic applications, which use privately permissioned networks that employ a cryptographically secure shared infrastructure.

Last month, DAH finalized a contract that should greatly speed up settlement for the stock market in Australia. The contract added a layer of stature to the startup since it will be the first operational project of its kind using the blockchain-distributed ledger technology.

DAH hopes to achieve settlement of shares in Australia in mere minutes, compared to the three days now typical in the U.S. The company won out over 400 applicants for the contract to remake the country’s clearing and settlement system.

The Linux Blockchain Framework

This isn’t the first time IBM and DAH have collaborated. In December, they both joined with the Linux Foundation to create an open-source distributed ledger framework.

IBM contributed tens of thousands of lines of its existing code base and corresponding intellectual property to the effort. DAH contributed the Hyperledger mark — which was chosen as the project name — as well as code and developer resources.

“A broad, cross-industry and open-source approach is critical to advance the potential for blockchain and make it mainstream,” said Arvind Krishna, senior vice president and director at IBM Research, at the time. “Even beyond building out standards, creating common code will allow organizations to focus on creating industry-specific applications that enhance the value of this technology.”

A blockchain conference hosted by IBM will be held in February.

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Larry Loeb

Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other...