Blythe Masters Turned Down Barclays to Stay at Blockchain Startup

Joon Ian Wong
Dec 3, 2015 at 12:20 UTC
Updated Dec 4, 2015 at 23:50 UTC

Blythe Masters turned down an offer to run Barclays’ investment bank to stay with her blockchain technology startup Digital Asset Holdings, Reuters reported yesterday.

The report, citing an unnamed source, said Barclays boss Jes Staley pitched his former JP Morgan colleague Masters to head the unit late next year.

But Masters rebuffed the offer, saying she is “fully committed” to her startup, which plans to use blockchain technology to cut down settlement and clearing times for a variety of asset classes.

Masters told Reuters:

“I can’t think of a better person than Jes Staley, nor a more venerable institution than Barclays, but I am in mid-flight at Digital Asset and fully committed to what we are doing.”

Masters is one of the most powerful figures on Wall Street operating in the financial technology space. She was the former global head of commodities at JP Morgan and is widely credited for devising the credit default swap.

Bloomberg’s Gadfly, commenting on the Reuters revelation, noted that this could mark a turning point for finance. Gadfly managing editor Edward Evans wrote:

“For financiers, the attraction of making a fortune in tech is now greater than the lure of running one of Europe’s pre-eminent investment banks.”

Barclays has been rocked by scandal recently, earning it the biggest-ever fine imposed by the UK’s financial regulator, at £72 million.

Staley started in the top job at Barclays two days ago. His predecessor Antony Jenkins was fired in July after disagreements with the board over cuts at its investment banking division.

Featured image: Blythe Masters at Consensus 2015