Blythe Masters is somewhat of a legend on Wall Street. She is credited for the creation of Credit Default Swaps (CDS) during her time in JP Morgan. CDS gained mainstream infamy for its contribution to the 2008 financial recession. Masters left JP Morgan in 2014 when the company sold the Commodities unit she headed. The same year also saw the biggest commodities crash since the financial recession.
Fast forward to 2018: Masters has now resigned as the CEO of Digital Assets LLC, a fintech start-up that offers distributed ledger solutions to its clients. Unlike many blockchain startups, Digital Assets actually has a product and seems to be serious about implementing its technology to solve real world problems. Co-incidentally, this departure also comes amidst a market crash. Cryptocurrencies went on a downward spiral this year, with Bitcoin losing more than 80% of its value since its all time high in 2017.
Masters is not alone. Major investment banks have put their blockchain plans on hold, after jumping on the crypto bandwagon during its vertiginous peaks in 2017. The crypto market is notoriously impossible to predict, and no amount of financial modeling is likely to help predict its direction.
It will be interesting to see what Masters does next, and if she will remain in fintech at all. For now, here’s a recent twitter thread by Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin on applications of blockchains outside fintech: