It is not hard to envision how distributed-ledger technology could streamline some financial industry operations that are in dire need of modernization. Implementation is another matter, requiring an early start in wrangling the necessary partners and teams, agreeing on technology approaches, funding system development, and taking the proverbial arrows in the back for trying to lead the pack. David Rutter has been through all that since co-founding R3 CEV in 2014. Adopting a consortium financing and development model that has attracted more than 80 banks, asset managers, clearinghouses, and others, the blockchain startup appeared to hit a rough patch late last year. Members including Banco Santander, Goldman Sachs Group, and Morgan Stanley pulled out. In April, JPMorgan Chase & Co. followed suit, reportedly preferring its own initiative, Quorum. But on May 23, R3 said it had raised $107 million in Series A funding from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, Ping An of China, and 36 other participants in "the world's largest distributed-ledger technology investment to date." The firm expects to bring in more in an additional tranche, which will be open to R3 members and nonmember institutional investors, later in the year. "R3 has proven the collaborative model can successfully drive innovation in financial services to a degree never before seen," Rutter, 54, former CEO of Prebon Energy and former CEO of ICAP Electronic Broking, said in the funding announcement.
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