The world of banking, always changing, has recently experienced a new shift that elevates the relevance of virtual monies in the year going forward. Recent reports state that one of the world’s most prominent executives, former banker Antony Jenkins, has joined a bitcoin start up. Jenkins, an ex-chief at Barclay PLC has stepped away from traditional banking and has taken a seat at the Board of Directors at Blockchain, a fledgling firm situated in Lindon. Blockchain was formed largely through a massive fundraising effort in 2014, and now provides bitcoin-related services. Bitcoin is a kind of currency, usually based online, which utilizes powerful and secure encryptions in order to regulate the generation of its monetization, and to verify the existence and value of funds. Bitcoin’s main operational attribute is that it operates independent of a central bank or system. In turn, Bitcoin’s value, outside of its financial cache, is that it is an anonymous financial trading system.
Blockchain’s name refers directly to the tech that is used to establish the mutual network that transports and watches bitcoin. The company takes software materials that have been employed by firms using bitcoin and uses an app and web-based service to utilize customers’ digital currency.
The board of Blockchain poses a strong profile. Along with the new appointment of Antony Jenkins, the company’s founders and early players in the backing of the firm are at the helm. Co-founders are Peter Smith and Nick Cary, Chief Executive and President, respectively. Other members of the board include Jeremy Liew with Lightspeed Venture, and Michael Jackson who was previously with Skype as its operating chief. With a strong board comprised of strong industry leaders, the addition of Jenkins is a substantive addition to the governing body of Blockchain and demonstrates the company’s focus on possibly positioning bitcoin as a viable and reasonable alternative to traditional finance or banking services. Bitcoin has raised its public profile and is reportedly expecting to produce about $50 billion in transactions over the next year. It is thought that nearly a third of those transactions are projected to originate from institutions. Mr. Jenkins, as the former ex-chief at Barclays, has vast experience in traditional and emerging banking systems, which will certainly prove useful as Blockchain moves to position itself to harness technology and the changing environment to provide bitcoin-related services.
Bitcoin’s early competitors have pivoted to working with applications using digital monies to deal with traditional money transactions. Firms such as TradeBlock have set their sights on these kinds of operations.
Antony Jenkins is in good company when it comes to joining and steering start up boards. A former Morgan Stanley head, now at Lending Club, and Anshu Jain, formerly of Deutsche Bank AG, have both made the managerial move to serve on boards within the finance industry. Mr. Jenkins has been vocal about the changing face of finance and banking, commenting previously on the trend for financial management to face new environments and stating that the field of banking is currently experiencing an “Uber moment.” He is very involved in the movement as such, having started a business that focuses on digital finance services for non-financial firms and working as chairman to another outfit, Currencies Direct Ltd., where there is a strong emphasis on exchange and trading with foreign markets. Mr. Jenkins forecasts noticeable economic pressure originating from the banking industry, along with “unpredictable” transformation over the financial landscape next year and beyond.