September 10, 2018 / 10:05 AM / 12 days ago

Lightyear buys U.S. blockchain start-up Chain; to move business to Stellar

NEW YORK (Reuters) - San Francisco technology start-up Chain Inc. has been acquired by Lightyear Corp., a company focused on the Stellar blockchain, Chain Chief Executive officer Adam Ludwin said on Monday.

Interstellar, the new company, will migrate Chain’s customer base and products onto Stellar’s global public ledger, creating a platform that will enable organizations to issue, exchange and manage assets, Ludwin said in an interview with Reuters.

“We were looking for a way to help our customers move the projects that we have been working on from a private network to a public one,” Ludwin said.

“When we started a few years ago, our customers were not ready for a public network. Fast forward to three years, they’re willingness has gone up, and the maturity of the public networks has changed a lot,” he added.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger used to underpin cryptocurrencies.

Ludwin declined to disclose financial details of the acquisition, but said Chain investors were cashed out. The transaction closed last week in negotiations that started late last year. “The deal turned out to be a very good outcome for our investors,” said Ludwin.

Chain was one of the bigger players in the blockchain space with customers in the financial services industry, while Stellar is an open network that allows any currency or asset to be digitally issued, transferred, and exchanged over the internet.

IBM recently announced that it is launching a payment network based on the Stellar blockchain.

Chain, a blockchain infrastructure company that enables organizations to build better financial services from the ground up, raised more than $40 million from companies such as Visa, Citi Ventures, as well as Nasdaq.

Under the transaction, the Chain and Lightyear brands will be retired. Ludwin will be the new company’s CEO, while Jed McCaleb, co-founder of Stellar Development Foundation and Lightyear, will be the chief technology officer.

Interstellar will employ 60 people with headquarters in San Francisco and an office in New York City.

Interstellar’s product portfolio will also include StellarX, a recently announced marketplace for trading assets on Stellar. StellarX is currently in beta phase and will launch to the public soon.

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Dan Grebler

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