Blockchain startup Vakt appoints former JPMorgan exec as CEO

Mark Johnson's picture

London-based blockchain commodity startup, VAKT said it has appointed former JP Morgan Chase director, Etienne Amic, as its new CEO.

Amic brings a wealth of experience to the role that matches VAKT’s ambition to change the face of physical commodities trading by eliminating reconciliation and paper-based processes. 

Built using blockchain technology, the platform provides a single source of truth for buyers and sellers that is safeguarded with an immutable, distributed audit trail. It promises major efficiency gains and cost savings for post-trade processing, including trade finance, and marks one of the world’s first fully operational enterprise-grade blockchain solutions.

Amic brings direct experience in commodities trading, having served as a managing director at both Mercuria Energy Trading and JP Morgan Chase. 

He most recently served as co-founder and chairman of Vortexa, a cargo and analytics company focused on global crude oil and refined products markets, and as founding partner at CommodiTech Ventures, a firm funding the next generation of commodities technology and innovative business models.

“For some years now I’ve steered my career according to the knowledge that technology will fundamentally change the physical commodities market”, said Amic. 

Blockchain changing commodity trading

“I was aware of VAKT from the start, but what impressed me was the success the company has had as a creation by a consortium of traders. To have such prestigious companies pulling in the same direction – many of them competitors – tells you this is something very powerful that the industry really needs.

“In essence, physical trading is the negotiation of promises to deliver a commodity of a well-defined quality, at a specified location and at a given date. Often, there are terminal or pipeline operators involved, acting as de facto physical clearinghouses, and service providers such as port agents and inspection companies helping the material to move along and checking its physical characteristics. The goal of VAKT is to facilitate all these contributions seamlessly and ‘on platform’. That’s a vision I was excited to be part of and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Launched in November 2018, VAKT’s original investors and first users of the platform include energy majors BP, Equinor and Shell; independent traders Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria; and banks ABN Amro, ING and Société Générale.

These have since been joined by Chevron, Total and Reliance Industries. The first public launch to non-consortium licensees is expected for early 2019.

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