Ex-JP Morgan Superstar Blythe Masters is Heading a Bitcoin Start-Up

Former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive Blythe Masters will become CEO of cryptocurrency startup Digital Asset Holdings, which formally launches on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Photo: Michael Johnson/Flickr

Photo: Michael Johnson/Flickr

On Tuesday, Blythe Masters, 45, the former global head of commodities at JP Morgan, was named as chief executive officer of Digital Asset Holdings LLC, a bitcoin-related startup which “aims to be a venue for buyers and sellers of financial assets to meet and transact, switching currencies into bitcoin in order to cut the cost and time of settlement and make use of the decentralised ‘block chain’ as a secure record of transactions,” the Financial Times reports.

It’s also reported that Digital Asset Holdings’ creators are Sunil Hirani, CEO of truEX LLC, and Don Wilson, founder and CEO of DRW Trading Group. The venture was founded last year and currently it counts about 10 employees spread across Chicago, New York and Tel Aviv.

According to Bloomberg, Digital Asset’s strategy is to keep the speed and digital efficiencies of bitcoin and blockchain while adding a layer of disclosure that would reassure Wall Street banks and regulators. Moreover, the venue will provide a closed system that only reliable customers can use.

Digital Asset’s aim isn’t to cut out banks from trading and settlement processes, but to improve their back-office operations, in which settlement cycles can take more than 20 days for some assets, Blythe said.

Apropos of Digital Asset Holdings, the FT describes the above-mentioned start-up: “[it] will admit creditworthy members — such as big banks and asset managers — to trade between themselves using DAH’s technology.”

It’s necessary to say that Ms Masters is not the first Masters to deal with cryptocurrency. Last year, her ex-husband and an ex-JP Morgan commodities trader, Daniel Masters, opened a Bitcoin fund. Having experienced some difficulties in order to find banks to collaborate with, he said:

“The state of Bitcoin is a lot like the state of the oil market 25 years ago, where you had a lot of these transactions happening merchant to merchant, this product that everyone wanted and could use but whose prices were very, very volatile, very shaky.”

Nevertheless, Mr Masters’ ex-wife will  be heading a cryptocurrency startup that aims to overhaul the way traded assets are settled and recorded. Masters herself mentioned that she wouldn’t be needing regulatory approval because it’s not “an exchange, a custodian, or a money transmitter,” the Financial Times reports.

Describing Ms Masters’ legacy, Bloomberg mentions the fact that she ran several credit desks and then became the investment bank’s chief financial officer.

“Trading takes place at warp speed — settlement doesn’t,” Masters, who rose from a JPMorgan intern to global head of its commodities arm over 27 years, said in an interview.

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