A top SocGen exec is joining a startup working with the technology behind bitcoin

Wall Street-headquartered blockchain company itBit is opening a London office to spearhead expansion to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

itBit’s new London office, its first outside the US, will be headed up Jason Nabi, itBit says in an emailed statement announcing the move.

Nabi joins from Societe Generale, where he was Managing Director and Global Head of Global Broker-Dealer Services.

Since last August, Nabi has also been a member of a working group looking at how the technology that underpins bitcoin — blockchain — can be used in the post-trade stage of banking: clearing, settlement, and custody of things like shares or bonds.

itBit is one of several startups currently trying to bring blockchain technology to mainstream financial services. Blockchain uses complex cryptography and distributed databases, as opposed to centralised ledgers, to cut down on costs. Instead of working through a central “trusted middle-man” for things like trading and settlement, banks could use blockchain technology to deal directly with each other.

Founded in 2012, itBit is the first bitcoin and blockchain company to be regulated by the New York State Department of Finance Services and has developed an “off the shelf” blockchain-based product, Bankchain, that can be adapted for all sorts of uses in banking. The company is hoping to roll it out for use in the precious metals trading market by the end of the year.

Nabi is one of several executives to make the jump from traditional finance to so-called “fintech” startups looking at blockchain technology.

The most high-profile soa far has been Blythe Masters, the former JPMorgan executive who now runs blockchain company Digital Asset Holdings. Digital Asset Holdings also recently opened an office in London.

ItBit CEO Chad CascarillaitBititBit CEO Chad Cascarilla.

itBit founder Chad Cascarilla is himself a former mainstream finance guy, with stints as an analyst at Goldman Sachs and Bank of America under his belt according to his LinkedIn profile.

Announcing the new office and Nabi’s appointment, itBit CEO Cascarilla says in an emailed statement:

London is a major financial services hub, with a concentration on blockchain innovation, technology and transforming fintech services worldwide.

We are pleased to bring an industry veteran like Jason Nabi onto the team, given his leadership in blockchain applications for post-trade services and his deep understanding of financial markets globally.

Nabi says in the same statement:

The industry is at a turning point with distributed ledger technology, and I believe that itBit is the best-positioned firm to be a leader in this area with its Bankchain offering.

Business Insider recently caught up with Cascarilla during a visit to London — you can read the full interview here.

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