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Salesforce, Samsung invest in enterprise DLT firm Digital Asset

blockchain security smart contracts

Enterprise blockchain firm Digital Asset announced an additional Series C investment of an undisclosed amount from Salesforce Ventures and Samsung Venture Investment Corp (SVIC). The initial $35 million Series C closed last December.

At the time, Digital Asset did not reveal the investors, but most were existing shareholders, which include the likes of Accenture, ASX, Broadridge, Citi, Deutsche Börse, DTCC, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, IBM and others. $10 million came from the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), where Digital Asset’s technology forms the basis of its new CHESS settlement system.

It’s been ten months since Digital Asset open-sourced its smart contract language, DAML, which is now the focus of its business model. A key differentiator is DAML’s compatibility with multiple blockchains or distributed ledgers as well as conventional databases.

Shortly after DAML was open-sourced, Salesforce launched its own blockchain solution, which is based on Hyperledger Sawtooth, one of the DAML supported platforms. The Digital Asset team would not be drawn on any specific production directions. However, it’s not unreasonable to envisage DAML being incorporated into Salesforce’s blockchain solution. The big question is whether Salesforce might leverage the smart contract language beyond blockchain.

“Salesforce Ventures and Samsung joining our Series C financing round demonstrates the potential that technology giants see in DAML as the standard for smart contracts,” said Yuval Rooz, co-founder and CEO of Digital Asset.

Salesforce Ventures has invested in more than 375 companies, including Stripe and Dropbox.

Digital Asset already has two big tech deals under its belt, integrating DAML with Amazon AWS products and VMWare blockchain.

“It’s interesting to see the technology companies coming into this space. We’ve seen that over the last couple of years,” observed Dan O’Prey, CMO at Digital Asset and former Chair of the Hyperledger Marketing Committee. “It’s interesting to see how this is going to play out and which business models are going to be compatible with working in a world of these technology giants.”

Turning to Samsung, SVIC had $2.2 billion assets under management as of last March. Again Digital Asset would not be drawn on potential applications, but Samsung SDS is known for its Nexledger platform, which supports both Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum. Fabric is one of the DAML supported blockchain platforms.

A Samsung spokesperson commented: “We strongly believe that Digital Asset’s model to embed DAML in partner platforms fundamentally changes the entire blockchain market.”

DAML currently supports Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger Sawtooth, Corda, VMWare Blockchain, and Amazon’s quasi-blockchain QLDB as well as Aurora. Digital Asset confirmed that Ethereum compatibility is on the roadmap but not a current high priority, although partners are exploring it.

“From our point of view, we’re getting a lot of interest to integrate DAML into multiple platforms, and we’re having to prioritize the ones that we see the most commercial demand for,” said O’Prey. He commented that personally, he hoped there would be a DAML supported Ethereum platform shortly.

O’Prey also spoke about the other announcement. Ex Microsoft executive Susan Hauser, an existing advisor, is joining the board. She was formerly VP of Microsoft’s Enterprise and Partner Group, so she will bring her enterprise sales experience to the team.

“As we worked with her as an advisor, it quickly became clear how much value she could provide to us as a company, and she was equally fascinated by the potential for this technology and how we can bring it to market through multiple different verticals,” said O’Prey.

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