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Blockchain startup Digital Asset raises US$40m

[NEW YORK] Digital Asset, a blockchain startup funded by some of the world's largest banks, has raised US$40 million as it expands globally.

The funding round was led by Jefferson River Capital LLC, the family office of Tony James, president and chief operating officer of private equity firm Blackstone, Digital Asset said on Monday.

The round brings the total raised by Digital Asset, which is led by former JPMorgan banker Blythe Masters, to US$110 million.

The company also said it had hired Clyde Rodriguez, a former co-chief technology officer of hedge fund Two Sigma Investments as chief information officer and CTO of engineering.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the software underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, is shared record of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers on the internet.

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Financial institutions have been investing millions of dollars in the technology in the hopes that it can help them cut costs and simplify some of their back office processes.

Founded in 2014, New York-based Digital Asset is one of the most high profile startups in the nascent blockchain industry and is focused on developing technology for financial institutions. It has more than 130 employees globally.

In early 2016 it raised more than US$60 million from large financial institutions including Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co, CME Group Inc, Deutsche Borse and Citigroup.

Digital Asset's clients include Australian stock exchange ASX, also an investor, and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.

The ASX, is assessing whether to use Digital Asset's technology to replace its clearing and settlement system, which would constitute one of the most ambitious blockchain projects yet.


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