Barclay’s Antony Jenkins jumps aboard Blockchain bitcoin start-up
One of Europe’s top bankers is joining a bitcoin start-up.
Antony Jenkins, the former chief executive of Barclays, has joined the board of Blockchain, a London-based start-up that provides services related to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
The company, named after the basic technology that creates the shared network used to move and track bitcoin, raised $US30 million ($40m) in an initial fundraising in 2014.
Blockchain software has been used by other bitcoin firms, such as Coinbase, as well as its own app and website service for consumers to buy and sell digital currency. It is also developing tools for using bitcoin’s underlying technology for things such as tracking identity information or trading other assets.
Mr Jenkins joins the firm’s co-founders, chief executive Peter Smith and president Nick Cary, on the board, along with venture capitalist Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed Venture Partners — one of the earliest backers of Snap — and Michael Jackson, the former operating chief of Skype.
The move to add a former banker is notable for Blockchain, which says it remains committed to bitcoin and digital currency for their own sake as potential alternatives to traditional services.
Mr Smith said Blockchain was on pace to do about $US50 billion in transactions this year, about a third of it coming from institutions.
Meanwhile, early digital currency rivals such as Circle Internet Financial and TradeBlock, which launched Axoni, have shifted towards applications that use digital currency in the background, to facilitate things such as traditional currency transfers or to take costs out of banking activities such as trading and settlement.
Mr Jenkins joins other ex-bank heads on fintech boards, including ex-Morgan Stanley head John Mack at LendingClub, and former Deutsche Bank chief Anshu Jain, who is set to join online lending firm Social Finance.
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