A cryptocurrency fan’s guide to Blythe Masters

Blythe Masters, CEO of the Digital Assets Holding Group.
Blythe Masters, CEO of the Digital Assets Holding Group. Photo: thierry ehrmann/ Flickr.

Blythe Masters, one of Wall Street’s most high profile women, recently joined cryptocurrency start-up Digital Asset Holdings as its CEO.

Her appointment got speakers at FutureFest2015 very excited. So we thought we’d bring you a short guide to who she is and what her appointment might mean for the cryptocurrency industry.

WHO: Blythe Masters received an economics degree from Cambridge in the 1980s. From there she went on to work for investment bank JP Morgan Chase.

She was involved in developing the modern credit default swap (CDS). This financial product has been the subject of widespread criticism for the part it played in the 2008 financial crisis.

Though Ms Masters has gone on the record to say it was the misuse of CDSs, rather than an innate problem with the product itself, that caused so much harm to the financial system.

Ms Masters moved up the ranks at JP Morgan Chase to become global head of commodities in 2007. She announced her decision to leave the bank in 2014.

WHAT: Digital Asset Holdings is a tech start-up that works with blockchain technology to make financial transactions quicker and more secure. Little is known about the company’s business strategy: its website gives very little a way.

Ms Masters has only given one interview since joining Digital Asset Holdings. Talking to the Wall Street Journal she said the company’s ambition is to bring blockchain technology to Wall Street. She said:

“If you can find a way to bridge the two of them then you have something that is truly revolutionary.”

WHEN: Digital Asset Holdings launched in March 2015.

WHERE: The start-up is based in New York.

WHY THIS MATTERS: It could herald a new age for digital currencies. Cryptocurrencies have been touted as rivals to traditional, fiat currencies. But with some of Wall Street’s greatest minds working to integrate the blockchain into the existing financial system this challenger technology could soon be part of the banking mainstream.

The migration of top banking talent into the digital currency sector also indicates the industry has strong growth potential. Blythe Master’s ex-husband Daniel Masters also made the move from commodities trading to cryptocurrencies.He helps manage the Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund – a digital currency hedge fund based in Jersey.

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