Gary Cohn Is Joining Blockchain Startup Spring Labs

October 12, 2018, 12:55 PM UTC

Former economic advisor to President Trump Gary Cohn is wading back into public life.

Just over six months after leaving the White House, the former Goldman Sachs president—who was once one of the wealthiest members of the Trump administrationhas joined the advisory board of Spring Labs, a blockchain startup that uses the technology to change the way banks share credit data, reports The Financial Times.

Spring Labs, which is based in Los Angeles and Chicago, describes itself as building a “decentralized network for identity and credit to serve as the foundation for a more transparent, secure, and efficient delivery of financial services.”

By using blockchain technology, the startup asserts, financial institutions, lenders, and consumers will have better control of their data and added security than they do with the current credit-reporting system, which relies on three main credit bureaus. Equifax, one of the largest of such agencies, suffered a data breach last year, which affected more than 148 million people.

Adam Jiwan, the chairman and CEO of Spring Labs, explained to the FT that the company’s approach would allow data to be “shared directly between parties in a ‘highly secure’ and ‘anonymous’ way.” The startup’s aim, ultimately, is for the model to “replace the credit bureaus you see today.”

Calling the project a “unique opportunity,” Cohn told the FT that it’s an “obvious place” to take a “very, very analogue industry and digitize it.” Cohn further explained that while he is less enthusiastic about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin—which was the original use of blockchain technology—he has explored several opportunities in the blockchain sector since leaving the White House in March.

He pointed to the numerous possible applications of blockchain, including smart contracts and currency settlements, describing it as a “huge new invention.”

“We all know all the inefficiencies of the existing currency world, and blockchain clearly helps to eliminate them at some point in the future,” he added.

Cohn reportedly received an “undisclosed amount of equity” in the company.