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Gary Cohn Joins Blockchain Startup

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Gary Cohn, the former chief economic aide to President Donald Trump and president of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., will serve as an advisor to blockchain-technology startup Spring Labs.

Joining Spring Labs is his most high-profile move since resigning as National Economic Council director earlier this year after Trump imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel that Cohn opposed. He is credited with helping to shepherd the Trump administration’s tax overhaul package.

Closely held Spring Labs wants to use the distributed-ledger technology to allow lenders and data providers to exchange credit and identity information more efficiently, according to a company press release. Spring Labs has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago.

“We envision him playing a role around helping us think through for developing something that’s regulatory compliant and that others need to see in order to adapt it,” Adam Jiwan, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Spring Labs, said in an interview.

The advisory board includes Bobby Mehta, the former chief executive of Transunion Corp., Brian Brooks, chief legal officer of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Inc., Sheila Bair, former chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and Nigel Morris, co-founder and former president of Capital One.

Cohn has an undisclosed amount of equity in Spring Labs, the Financial Times reported earlier Friday. It is direct ownership in the company, Jiwan said.

“I have been very interested in blockchain technology for a number of years, and Spring Labs is developing a network that could have profound implications for the financial services sector, among others,” said Cohn in the press release.

Spring Labs, founded just last year, has nearly $15 million in seed funding, according to Crunchbase. The company was set up by members of the founding team of Avant, a lending platform that has originated over $5 billion of loans in the past six years.

“We don’t have a need to use a coin offering or token offering as a means to raising capital,” Jiwan said. “We might deploy a digital asset. But at the moment, our focus is on architecting the network and driving adaption.”


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