The competition between private blockchain providers intensified today as Digital Assets, run by Blythe Masters – a former executive at JPMorgan Chase – announces an industry partnerships with three giants:
“We are excited to enter into relationships with Accenture, Broadridge and PwC and are already working with them to provide value to our clients and the industry,” said Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset. “These alliances will accelerate innovation, drive growth and broaden our reach in different segments across the world.”
The announcement comes only days after Blockstream, a company that specializes in sidechains – private blockchains which nonetheless still use bitcoin as a currency – made its own announcement they entered into a partnership with PwC, one of the biggest accounting firm in the world.
Although some suggest the two companies are competing with each other as Digital Assets has recently raised $60 million while Blockstream raised $50 million, as well as Digital Assets announcing three partnerships while Blockstream announced one, Austin Hill, the CEO of Blockstream, says they in fact take a collaborative approach:
“There are times when we compete for opportunities, but we collaborate with the guys at Digital Asset. They give us feedback on our code, we have meetings with them to show common architecture. There are some parts that they’re focusing on that are not our expertise or focus. We’re happy to see syndicated loans emerge on a blockchain, but we have a whole different background”
Another company, R3CEV, which recently employed Mike Hearn – a prominent core developer who contributed to bitcoin for seven year to only quit a month ago – and has formed a consortium of almost all world banks, is too in the business of private blockchains. As is Bloq, a company recently created by the prominent bitcoin core developer and blockchain expert Jeff Garzik. They have been somewhat quiet , but some suggest a race is now on.
There is no bank, wall street executive, or government, that has not heard of blockchain – described by the Economist as “the trust machine” – which promises a complete transformation of finance or, as some call it, a fourth technological revolution.
They do not compete with just each other, but also with the open, global, permissionless ledger typified by Bitcoin and other digital currencies such as Ethereum, which in turn compete with payment processors such as Visa and Paypal as well as assets such as gold.
The greatest race on earth therefore is now on with Silicon Valley VCs asking a trillion dollar question: which one of these companies will become the AOL of blockchain currencies/assets and will the open, global, permissionless space win once more against private walled gardens?