Digital Asset

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DRW logo RGB.png

Digital Asset
Digital Asset Symbol Blue.png
Founded 2014
Headquarters Offices in New York, London and Frankfurt
Key People Yuval Rooz, CEO; AG Gangadhar, Executive Chairman; Donald R. Wilson Jr., Co-Founder and director; Sunil Hirani, Co-Founder and Director
Products Blockchain technology
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook Page
Website Digital Asset

Digital Asset, formerly called Digital Asset Holdings, is a software company that uses blockchain (or "distributed ledger") technology to facilitate settlement between digital and traditional currencies. It was founded in 2014 by Sunil Hirani and Don Wilson.[1] [2]

History

The firm was founded in 2014 out of a bitcoin trading operation created by the Chicago trading firm DRW, and operated through a little-known subsidiary of DRW known as Cumberland Mining & Materials.[3]

The firm is attempting to build a database using blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to speed up the process of trading, clearing and settlement of financial transactions.

In March 2015 the firm hired Blythe Masters as CEO. Her former employer, JPMorgan, pledged $7.5 million on the blockchain project.

The firm acquired two small companies, Bits of Truth and HyperLedger, in June 2015 while also announcing a first round of Series A funding.[4] Later in 2015, the firm acquired the blockchain startup Blockstack.[5]

In September 2015, Pivit, an online gaming portal, completed a $5 million round of funding with a portion of the notes issued via Digital Asset's software.[6]

On March 29, 2016, Digital Asset Holdings and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) announced plans to develop and test a "distributed ledger based solution" to manage the clearing and settlement of U.S. Treasury, Agency, and Agency Mortgage-Backed repurchase agreement (repo) transactions. The entities selected repo agreements for this proof of concept because they saw an opportunity to streamline how the products are cleared, as repo transaction volumes continue to grow, the DTCC said in a press release.[7]

In 2017 the Australian Securities Exchange became the first major exchange to adopt blockchain technology, using Digital Asset's platform.[8]

In July 2018, the company announced it had partnered with Google Cloud to provide blockchain developers with tools that would make it easier for them to create blockchain applications.[9] The partnership involves Digital Asset providing Google access to a software development kit that will let the company’s developers experiment with a smart contract programming language known as DAML (Digital Asset Modeling Language), which Digital Asset unveiled in March.[10]

Followed by at least several months of staff upheaval, in December 2018, Digital Asset announced Masters would be stepping down as CEO of the company for personal reasons. The company said she would remain a board member, strategic advisor and shareholder.[11] She was replaced by acting CEO by AG Gangadhar, who was also named executive chairman.[12] Yuval Rooz, who had been COO, was named to replace Masters, according to a March 19, 2019, Digital Asset press release.[13]

Digital Assets's Europe head, Gavin Wells was reported to be stepping down in March 2019 shortly after CIO and CTO of engineering James Powell stepped down in February. Wells was replaced by Oliver Hugh-Jones and Powell by Shaul Kfir. Zohar Hod was named chief staretgy officer at the same time.[14] The senior product architect for Digital Assets's mark-up language, Sofus Mortenson, also left the company in March 2019.[15]

Coindesk, an online cryptocurrency- and blockchain-focused news service, reported that, having quietly left the board, Digital Assets board member Sallie Krawcheck's name was removed from the company website in late February or early March 2019.[16]

In April 2019 Digital Asset announced that its Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML) would become open-source. The announcement on April 4 was followed by announcements that Digital Asset was working with ISDA, VMware and Hyperledger to integrate DAML into their product offerings.[17]

Key People

References

  1. Digital Asset Holdings Delivers First-Of-Its-Kind Technology to Bridge the Gap Between Crypto and Mainstream Assets. PR Newswire.
  2. Swaps Pioneer Blythe Masters to Lead Virtual Currency Startup. Bloomberg.
  3. Start-Up With Bitcoin in Its DNA Stumbles on Fund-Raising Trail. New York Times.
  4. Blythe Masters Quick Off the Block With Startup Buys. Wall Street Journal.
  5. Digital Asset Holdings to Acquire Blockchain Startup Blockstack. Coindesk.
  6. Pivit Raises $5 Million With Help of Blythe Masters-Led Start-Up. Wall Street Journal.
  7. DTCC and Digital Asset to Develop Distributed Ledger Solution to Drive Improvements in Repo Clearing. DTCC.
  8. The Australian Securities Exchange Just Made Blockchain History. Fortune.
  9. Google Cloud Inks Deal With Blythe Masters' Blockchain Startup. Coindesk.
  10. Google Expands Blockchain Push With Digital Asset Tie-Up. Fortune.
  11. CEO of Blockchain Startup Digital Asset Steps Down in Surprise Departure. Bloomberg.
  12. Blythe Masters steps down as CEO of blockchain startup Digital Asset. CNBC.
  13. Rooz takes CEO reins from AG Gangadhar, who remains the executive chairman of the board. Digital Asset.
  14. Digital Asset’s Europe Head Is Latest to Leave Enterprise Blockchain Startup. CoinDesk.
  15. Sofus Mortensen, Profile. LinkedIn.
  16. Digital Asset Loses Another Exec and a High-Profile Board Member. CoinDesk.
  17. Digital Asset’s Smart Contract Language Now Works on Hyperledger Blockchains. CoinDesk.
  18. Digital Asset Homepage. Digital Asset Holdings.