Blythe Masters Looks Beyond Finance for Next Wave of Blockchain Growth
To hear Blythe Masters tell it, the time has come for Digital Asset (DA) to spread its wings and fly.
The distributed ledger technology (DLT) company she founded in 2014 is entering a new phase, heralded by, among other things, a partnership with Google Cloud to simplify and proliferate the tech.
To date, DA's strategy has stood out among the big enterprise blockchain players for its laser-like focus. Instead of spending a lot of time on consortiums, proofs-of-concept and the like, the New York-based company concentrated on landing the one big fish.
It achieved that goal late last year when the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) officially hired DA to replace its creaky Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (CHESS), a multi-year project that's currently underway.
Now, having earned the rare distinction of a bona fide production customer, Masters' startup wants to foster an ecosystem around its Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), which is about to become available with a software development kit (SDK) via Google Cloud.
"Having spent three and a half years in the design-and-build phase, this is the 'open up and educate' phase and [the time to] build a community of channel partners and developers," Masters told CoinDesk.
This, in turn, will open a vast range of opportunities for DA, she said – both within the financial services industry where Masters spent most of her career and outside it.
"The application of this technology is by no means limited to the world's biggest market infrastructures," the former JPMorgan Chase executive said, adding:
"It goes well throughout financial services, well beyond capital markets and beyond financial services into all the other industries that have a vested interest in improving the efficiency of their workflow orchestration."According to Masters, there is "a lot of pent-up demand" for DA's technology which the cloud-based DAML SDK can start to meet and a "potential addressable market that is almost unmeasurable."
To give a sense of the breadth of this market, Masters rattled off a litany of new pastures for DA, including: healthcare and insurance claims; digital media rights; royalty streams; real estate; lending and collateral management within capital markets, derivatives post-trade, securities post-trade, reference data, supply chain, crypto wallet custody of assets and more.This is our first mention of Ms. Masters since December's "Blockchain Consortium, Hyperledger, Loses Members, Funding"
However, Masters was careful to qualify this, acknowledging the fatigue felt in many corners following the blockchain hype of a few years ago.
"I think there was some fair criticism that blockchain was a technology solution looking for a problem to solve," she said. "But our approach has very much been to work with customers to identify the problem first and sometimes not to recommend a DLT solution."
The DA team recently returned from San Francisco, where Masters and Shaul Kfir, DA's CTO, gave a talk on DLT partnerships at the Google Cloud Next conference.
The primary aim of the Google Cloud partnership is to make it easier for developers to deploy DA's tech, which Masters describes as "a mission to unleash web-paced innovation across multiple industries."
This means abstracting away the underlying complexity of the cryptography, the data architecture, the blockchain or DLT state engine, said Masters.
The Google Cloud-DA partnership appears to run deep as well as wide. To help drive the DAML platform-as-a-service (PaaS) program, DA has also welcomed former Google engineering executive AG Gangadhar to its board....MUCH MORE
No word on Blythe Masters and Digital Asset Holdings which just hooked up with the Australian Stock Exchange.
Which as you can see was really a non-mention.
Prior to that however we have dozens and dozens of posts on Blythe, including her role as head of the team that invented credit default swaps at JP Morgan and then her positions as JPM's global head of commodities and as head of regulatory affairs.
I'd have bet money she would be Dimon's second-in-command with a real shot at running the monster bank.
In 2013, when Morgan was making noises about getting into crypto this is the picture we used to illustrate her power:
More on the JP Morgan Cryptocurrency (JPM)
We may be closing in on an answer to the question that has been making the rounds: "What is Blythe Masters going to do if JPM sells their commodities business."
This may be a clue.
Instead she's running DAH. I never did figure out why.