Digital Asset Holdings Acqui-Hires Smart Contract Startup

Digital Asset Holdings has acquired Swiss FinTech startup Elevence to build out a system of smart contracts designed to preserve privacy.

AccessTimeIconApr 20, 2016 at 6:34 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 12:14 p.m. UTC
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Digital Asset Holdings has announced that it has acquired the assets and senior leadership of a Zurich-based technology startup.

Elevence CEO Vincent Peikert will lead Digital Asset's Switzerland office, and serve as head of product for Europe. Further, James Litsios, Elevence's CTO, will serve as head of development in Switzerland. The terms of the acqui-hire were not disclosed.

In the statement posted to Digital Asset’s website, CEO Blythe Masters described how she sees Elevence’s eight-person team fitting into the company.

Masters said:

"The resulting Digital Asset platform is specifically designed to address financial services applications requiring automation, privacy and immutability."

The acquisition represents the fourth blockchain startup purchased by the New York-based Digital Asset. In the past year, Digital Asset has moved to acquire startups Hyperledger, Bits of Proof, and Blockstack.io.

Privacy focus

Founded in 2015, Zürich-based Elevence has been working to write a coding language specifically designed to model and execute financial agreements using a distributed ledger, while at the same time giving parties involved more control over who can see the information provided.

According to the announcement, Elevence has developed a modeling language to express "any right or obligation", including cash, securities and derivatives. The company’s code defines the considerations between parties to determine how contractual relations might change over time.

"This provides relevant parties with a unified view of current and future rights and obligations on a need-to-know basis, rather than revealing confidential information as in smart contract systems," Digital Asset explained.

Blockchain or distributed ledger?

Today's announcement also provided more evidence of what increasingly looks like an industry-wide shift away from the term "blockchain" to the term "distributed ledger".

Earlier this month, banking consortium R3CEV announced its own distributed ledger platform, dubbed 'Corda', which the company described as being built from the ground up with user privacy in mind. At the time, R3 sought to distinguish its new platform from blockchain, the distributed database that underlies bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Similarly, today's formal announcement continued the company's tendency to make no mention of the word "blockchain," but described the technology as a "distributed ledger" on five separate occasions.

Image via Shutterstock

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