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IBM, India's Tata join U.S. tech platform's governing council

Mon, 12th Aug 2019 13:00

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss

NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - International Business MachinesCorp and Tata Communications have joined thegoverning council of Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed publicledger platform that aims to be faster and runs at a largerscale than current blockchain technologies, a top official atHedera said.

Backed by Digital Currency Group and hedge fund BlockTowerCapital, Hedera raised $124 million in August last year amid aslumping cryptocurrency market.

While digital currencies took a hit last year followingintense global regulatory scrutiny, blockchain developmentswithin companies continued. Cryptocurrencies though made a hugecomeback earlier this year, led by bitcoin, which hassoared more than 200% so far in 2019.

Hedera's governing council is crucial to its success, LeemonBaird, the company's co-founder and chief scientist, toldReuters in an interview. Hedera aims to have 39 members of thegoverning council. Aside from IBM and Tata, the other membersinclude Nomura Holdings Inc and Deutsche Telekom AG.

All members of the Hedera governing council have equal sayin approving updates to the Hedera platform codebase and insetting policies for the many nodes that will constituteHedera's decentralized network.

"The members of the governing council are the actual ownersof the company. They aren't just advisers. They are Hedera,"said Baird. "Hedera is an LLC (limited liability company) thatis split 39 ways -- 39 companies own it, control it, and makeall the decision."

Council members, however, serve a maximum of two consecutivethree-year terms and act as stewards of the platform.

In a statement commenting on joining Hedera's governingcouncil, Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technologiesat IBM, said IBM is interested in exploring "the relationshipsbetween public networks and industry-specific networks."

A year after Hedera raised financing from institutionalinvestors and high net worth individuals, Baird said it has beenfine-tuning its platform. It plans to open the platform to thepublic later in the summer.(Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by LisaShumaker)

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