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JP Morgan veteran becomes CEO of blockchain precious metal company Tradewind Markets

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Tradewind Markets which aims to digitize the precious metal markets has a new CEO. Michael Albanese is joining from JP Morgan where he spent the last 15 years. Most recently he was Global Head of Collateral Management.

The startup runs a B2B electronic trading platform for gold and silver which is powered by IEX technology (not blockchain). Gold bullion is custodied by the Royal Canadian Mint. Its VaultChain solution ties the ownership of digital assets to the physical version and streamlines the settlement process. As the name hints, it’s blockchain based using R3’s Corda technology.

Tradewind Markets has raised $22 million with investors including Bain Capital, IEX, GoldCorp and Wheaton Precious Metals. The company currently supports gold and silver, and in addition to custody enables provenance tracking with Asahi Refining as one of its clients.

Back to the new CEO: “Michael is a leader with significant experience working with corporations, creating capital-efficient products, operating at scale, and delivering value to shareholders,” said Blake Darcy, Executive Chairman of Tradewind. “The Board and I are confident that he is the right person to take Tradewind to the next level in our global pursuit of a more efficient, transparent, secure and cost-effective precious metals ecosystem.”

Apart from heading up collateral management, Albanese was previously responsible for securities clearance including on-exchange securities clearance, settlement and custody globally.

“Clear opportunities exist to improve how physical assets trade, settle, are custodied, and are mobilized as collateral—both in the precious metals space and beyond,” said Michael Albanese, CEO of Tradewind. “Smart deployment of technology can benefit multiple participants in the ecosystem. I am excited to join a company that has already successfully executed on a major asset class.”

Tradewinds was one of the first movers to use blockchain for B2B settlement, custody and traceability of precious metals. But competition is hotting up.

There’s a new metals consortium in the works involving the London Metals Exchange, ING, Macquarie and commodities trader Mercuria.

Plus Canada’s Minehub is targeting the metals supply chain with participants including Goldcorp, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners USA and Wheaton Precious Metals.


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