Chain, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based blockchain technology solutions provider, has raised $30 million in equity funding from a group of of financial and payments industry leaders including Visa, Nasdaq, Citi Ventures, Capital One, Fiserv and Orange.
The news regarding the investment further demonstrates Wall Streets turn towards the blockchain technology as sector transforming innovation.
Chain’s new investors will also join the company in forming a Blockchain Working Group to explore the application of the technology in various markets and take a collaborative approach to interoperability. Former American Express CEO and RRE Ventures founder, Jim Robinson III, has joined the company’s board of directors.
Commenting on the funding, Adam Ludwin, Chain’s CEO, said:
A blockchain is more than a financial technology – it’s a strategy. Applied intelligently, blockchain networks fundamentally improve how assets move between parties, and we are thrilled to be partnering with the organizations we believe are best positioned to capitalize on the inevitable changes in market structure that are on the horizon.
Jim McCarthy, Visa’s executive vice president innovation and strategic partnerships, stated:
Visa’s investment in Chain underscores our long-standing commitment to explore technology, like the blockchain, that could have the potential to advance secure and convenient digital payments for our clients and their customers.
Ramneek Gupta, Citi Ventures’ Managing Director and Co-head of Global Venture Investing, commented:
Blockchain technology represents a fundamental, generational shift for financial services, and Chain’s platform is enabling and accelerating this transformation. We hope to leverage Chain’s platform to rapidly test and develop applications as part of Citi’s multi-faceted blockchain strategy which has the potential to greatly enhance our customers’ experience well beyond just currencies and payments.
Launchedin 2014, Chain has been working closely with several large financial institutions, including First Data and Nasdaq.
Brad Peterson, Nasdaq Chief Information Officer, noted:
Chain is collaborating closely with us to increase efficiency in the capital markets. We see their platform helping us accelerate our time-to-market across our various blockchain initiatives. We are excited to further our partnership with them through Nasdaq’s investment in the company.
Chain deploys and operates blockchain networks that are built specifically for particular markets and assets. These private networks, which usually do not use bitcoin currency but are based on the same open protocols, can be interoperable with one another and other open digital currency networks.
Fiserv CEO Jeff Yabuki added:
Blockchain technology presents a new opportunity to enhance the financial services experience. Our investment in Chain reflects our commitment to innovation in financial services, and we look forward to working collaboratively with the Chain management team to drive this important technology forward.
Chain’s software platform implements an open specification and includes a suite of components to connect to and transact on a blockchain network as an issuer, asset holder or other market participant. The platform includes development tools that enable companies to prototype in sandboxed environments. The company’s engineering team previously developed software infrastructure at Salesforce.com and Microsoft.
Adam Boutin from Capital One Ventures said:
Chain provides a developer-centric technology platform that is as intuitive as it is powerful. As we have begun exploring the tremendous potential of blockchain technology, the Chain team has served as a great strategic thought partner, including co-hosting an internal hack-a-thon that produced 12 different solutions in 48 hours.
Blockchain technology also creates opportunities for industries outside of financial services, including mobile operators like Chain investor Orange who process a vast quantity of digital data every day. Paired with mobile networks, the blockchain technology may also be very useful in connecting unbanked populations of the world with financial services.
Pierre Louette, Orange’s Deputy CEO, indicated:
We believe in the disruptive potential of the blockchain. Becoming a key partner and investor in Chain will help us to learn faster and perform tests around this technology. We are seeking to carve out multiple use cases in our range of businesses to improve our services and propose new ones to our customers.
The company reports that Blockchain Working Group will hold bi-annual meetings that will include leading technologists, academics and researchers working on blockchain technology.
Existing Chain investors Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, Thrive Capital and SV Angel also participated and were joined by former Bank of America CEO, David Coulter, X PRIZE Foundation CEO, Peter Diamandis and MongoDB co-founder Kevin Ryan.
Various blockchain technology companies like Digital Asset, Overtstock’s t0 and Symbiont are also providing opportunities for financial institutions and private companies to launch digital assets on both public and private blockchains.