Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and IBM are the latest firms to invest in Digital Asset Holdings, the startup led by former JPMorgan Chase & Co. banker Blythe Masters that aims to adapt blockchain technology to financial markets.
The new venture had already raised $52 million from firms including JPMorgan, Accenture Plc, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. and Citigroup Inc. Last month, it won a contract to radically speed up settlement for Australia’s stock market on behalf of ASX Ltd., another investor.
The investments from Goldman and International Business Machines Corp. bring the total sum raised by the company to $60 million, according to a statement released on Tuesday. When the funding deal was initially announced in January, it valued Digital Asset at $100 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
The firm is among about a dozen startups that are racing to prove that blockchain, the technology underlying bitcoin, can be used in financial markets. While securities trading today relies on a central authority to oversee the transfer of cash for shares, Digital Asset aims to link all the participants in the process on the same database to allow real-time movement of assets. While the aim in Australia is to reduce settlement times to minutes, regulators in the U.S. are currently working to cut it to two days from three.
IBM and Digital Asset are also members of a group of financial and technology companies that are advocating the development of open-source software. The group, which is working with the Linux Foundation, wants to create a public network that blockchain applications can use to communicate with each other.
The deal with ASX, Australia’s main exchange operator, is the boldest attempt yet to prove the worth of a so-called distributed ledger system. ASX said a year ago that it would replace all of its core technology systems. Digital Asset beat 400 applicants for the contract to remake ASX’s clearing and settlement system.