Sir David Walker, a former executive director of the Bank of England, joins the ranks of financial luminaries clambering aboard the blockchain bandwagon by joining cryptographic payments and settlement infrastructure startup SETL as chairman.
SETL, set up earlier this year by former Ch-X chief Peter Randall and one-time quant trader Anthony Culligan, is looking to upset established market mechanisms with the launch of an institutional payment and settlement system based on blockchain technology.
The company says it is in discussion with more than 40 financial institutions including leading banks and infrastructure providers to create a cross-industry platform.
As a a senior member of the influential G30 group which considers and promotes advancements in international payments and settlements, and a former chairman of Barclays and Morgan Stanley, Walker lends considerable heavyweight heft to the SETL project.
"Blockchain is an important advance in settlement technology and SETL has a compelling proposition for its deployment," he says. "By simplifying the process of payments and settlement SETL should be able to deliver significant operational efficiencies which will benefit all market participants and, most importantly, reduce costs borne by savers and investors."
The company also announced the appointment of Professor Philip Bond as head of its cryptography and cyber security committee. A visiting Professor in the Departments of Engineering Mathematics and Computer Science at Bristol University, with degrees in physics, applied non-linear analysis, finance and pure mathematics and a former arbitrage trader, Bond will lead an advisory committee to assist in the design and implementation of the cryptographic methods used by SETL.
Both appointments will commence when the startup completes its fundraising, which is being managed by Caroline Silver at the specialist investment bank Moelis & Company. Silver recently advised on the $2.2bn sale of London Metal Exchange and on $8.2bn sale of Nyse Euronext.
The SETL hires come just a day after Digital Asset Holdings, the blockchain startup set up by former JPMorgan star Blythe Masters, announced the appointment of the former head of Swift's securities division and CEO of America's Chris Church as chief business development officer, and the arrival of ex-SunGard head Cristobal Conde as a non-executive director of the firm.
The moves emphasise the migration of top talent from the banking industry to the new possibilities created by the application of blockchain techniques to financial markets.