In 2015 Bitcoin Magazine covered the launch of the fintech company Symbiont, focused on fostering a symbiotic relationship between traditional financial markets and cryptographic blockchain technology. The company raised $1.25 million of seed funding from influential financial market leaders, then in January it closed a $7 million funding round. In May, Bitcoin Magazine reported that Symbiont is working with Delaware, the state that incorporates most companies, to explore the use of blockchain technology to make its paperwork cheaper and more efficient.
Now, Symbiont has announced that it has appointed Caitlin Long as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors. Long, a financial heavyweight with 22 years of corporate finance experience including stints at Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, will be responsible for commercializing Symbiont’s blockchain technology, encompassing business strategy and client relationships.
“Caitlin brings a rare mix of deep Wall Street experience and recognized thought leadership about blockchain technology. She is the embodiment of our name and brand,” said Mark Smith, CEO and co-founder of Symbiont. “Caitlin has a strong philosophical and economic foundation that allowed her to build her career by always putting the needs of her clients first. She has repeatedly proven her ability to help clients see new ways to solve problems and clients rewarded her with top market positions in every one of her businesses. We are thrilled that she’s joining our team.”
Symbiont has developed a platform that allows financial market participants to create programmable “Smart Securities,” self-executing digital contracts stored in a distributed ledger. Symbiont’s platform allows users to issue, manage, locate and trade Smart Securities in a global peer-to-peer financial network.
“Blockchain technology will make capital markets safer, fairer and more efficient,” said Long. “I chose to join Symbiont because we have better technology and are ahead of our peers. Symbiont offers the only smart contracts platform purpose-built for financial services. Investors will actually own the assets issued on Symbiont’s blockchain, which is a huge improvement relative to how securities are owned today.”
“Our priority from here is to broaden the market reach of our tech. It works and is already going into production,” Long told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think the performance numbers we disclosed today will garner a lot of attention from potential consumers, many of whom are kicking the tires on this new technology.”
The performance numbers to which Long is referring are detailed in a blog post, authored by Long, titled “Why I Chose to Join Symbiont.”
One of the two main reasons that motivated Long’s decision to join is that investors will actually own the assets issued on Symbiont’s blockchain which, according to Long, is a huge improvement relative to how securities are owned in today’s market structure. The second reason is that Symbiont’s platform can store all transaction data and documentation in a secure, anonymous manner without sacrificing speed.
“Symbiont’s ledger is currently processing 80,000 transactions per second in a single region and tens of thousands per second globally. Plus, transaction latency is on the order of milliseconds. So Symbiont’s software is not just outperforming all competitors whose comparable statistics we know — it’s outperforming them by multiple orders of magnitude.”
Symbiont was co-founded by members of the Counterparty project who had participated in the first development phase of Overstock’s “cryptostock” exchange, Medici, now known as t0. Overstock wants t0 to become an alternative to traditional stock exchanges like the NYSE or Nasdaq, said Judd Bagley, Overstock communications director and t0 Chief Evangelist in a Distributed interview.
The Hyperledger Project, an initiative of the Linux Foundation, is also developing an enterprise-grade, open-source distributed ledger framework and codebase. Hyperledger’s technology aims at clearing and settling transactions in real time, with a throughput of thousands of transactions per second. However, actual performances reported by developers on the Hyperledger mailing list are significantly lower, which seems to support Long’s claim.
Long notes that Symbiont, which has kept a low profile so far and prioritized building its technology to create a first-mover advantage, is already implementing its platform at a production level. “Our publicly disclosed customers include the State of Delaware (Delaware Public Archives project) and a top European insurance company (catastrophe swap pilot project),” says Long. “Other customers are not yet disclosed.”
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