Press Release – Libra Announces the Launch of Libra Crypto Office

Brings Institutional-Grade Back and Middle Office Solution to Funds, Market Makers, and Exchanges in the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Industry

Libra Announces Premier Customers ShapeShift, a Leading Exchange Platform, and XBTO, a Leading Trader and Liquidity Provider

 

New York, N.Y. — November 28, 2017 — Libra, the premier provider of accounting, audit, and tax software for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, today announced the launch of Libra Crypto Office, an enterprise application that automates and optimizes back and middle office processes and reporting for funds, market makers, and exchanges. Libra also announced two premier customers, leading trader and liquidity provider XBTO and ShapeShift, a blockchain asset exchange platform.

Libra Crypto Office offers the industry its first institutional-grade solution with a product that’s purpose-built for the technical nature of blockchains and cryptocurrencies while also meeting institutional investor, fund administrator, and regulatory requirements. The product provides customers the information accuracy and transparency required to grow quickly while managing compliance needs.

“We partnered with Libra because its solutions allow us to operate better,” said Philippe Bekhazi, CEO of XBTO. “Libra Crypto Office eliminates manual and inefficient back and middle office processes. The crypto markets operate 24/7/365, which means we must be able to produce accurate financial reports automatically, and in real time. Libra’s software will meet the needs of XBTO and our investors as we grow our business.”

Libra Crypto Office adds value through a three-stage process. First, it offers a single on-ramp that connects to exchange platforms, blockchains, and other data sources within the ecosystem. Second, the solution continuously normalizes and enriches millions of transaction records through real-time data processing engines. Finally, it assembles actionable insights and reports such as trading, inventory, and tax information which can also be delivered to other enterprise systems via APIs.

The launch follows Libra’s recent announcement of its $7.8 million Series A round led by a prominent, multi-billion dollar European family office. Participating investors included Liberty City Ventures, XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden.

“Cryptocurrency transaction volume is growing exponentially while financial accounting, reporting, compliance, and control processes are performed manually or with retrofitted applications that aren’t blockchain-native,” said Jake Benson, CEO of Libra. “Based on conversations with leading industry players, we found that organizations that trade large volumes of cryptocurrency hit a point where they can no longer scale because of manual processes and use of spreadsheets. Further, without the right systems and processes, institutional investors were unwilling to allocate significant capital to the sector. With the introduction of Libra Crypto Office, we will help to solve these challenges and we’re thrilled that both ShapeShift and XBTO are customers and look forward to supporting other similar organizations.”

 

New Product Release – Libra Crypto Office

As cryptocurrency transaction volume grows exponentially, traders, investors, and exchange platform owners are facing a growing set of crypto-data challenges. Not only is there no easy way to connect, extract, and aggregate data from the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, but distributed and decentralized data lacks uniformity as quality, consistency, and transparency varies tremendously across data sources. Consequently, the industry’s back and middle office processes are inefficient, error-prone and in need of an enterprise upgrade.

A simple example is when one exchange platform lists bitcoin as XBT, while another lists it as BTC. What happens when there’s a fork? Now you have potentially four or more different naming conventions to manage across many exchange platforms. How do you efficiently reconcile and report current and prior periods for your stakeholders? Not to mention, there are already over 1300 coins, each of which are computed out to varying decimal places depending on the data source.

Even as cryptocurrency valuations hit new records, and more funds enter the market, the heterogeneous nature of this data means the industry must resort to tracking and reconciling millions of lines of data manually or with retrofitted applications that aren’t blockchain-native, making any type of analysis or reporting for financial, performance, or tax purposes inefficient with an incredibly high likelihood of errors. In fact, we haven’t seen a meaningful crypto-dataset that doesn’t have gaps or errors.

This is a cause for concern, as institutional investors who are looking to move into the space won’t allocate significant capital until enterprise-grade information infrastructure and practices are implemented. This is necessary to meet their fiduciary responsibility. These critical challenges must be addressed for our industry to maintain its growth rate. Simply stated, there must be reliable, scalable, and secure systems and processes to track, analyze, and report on crypto investments.

Enter Libra. This week we made significant announcements that aim to address these challenges and promote continued growth with the support of institutional investors. Not only did we announce a $7.8 million Series A round led by a prominent, multi-billion dollar European family office, as well as Liberty City Ventures, leading trader and liquidity provider XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden, but a follow-on product announcement which unveils Libra Crypto Office, the industry’s first, institutional-grade solution purpose-built for the technical nature of blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Our new product has the support of XBTO as well as ShapeShift, a premier, global blockchain asset exchange platform.

Libra Crypto Office adds value through a three-stage process. First, it offers a single on-ramp that connects to exchange platforms, blockchains, and other data sources within the ecosystem. Second, the solution continuously normalizes and enriches millions of transaction records through real-time data processing engines. Finally, it assembles actionable insights and reports such as trading, inventory, and tax information that can also be delivered to other enterprise systems via APIs.

Philippe Bekhazi, CEO of XBTO, recently spoke to the product’s value and potential:

“Libra Crypto Office eliminates manual and inefficient back and middle office processes. The crypto markets operate 24/7/365, which means we must be able to produce accurate financial reports automatically, and in real time. Libra’s software will meet the needs of XBTO and our investors as we grow our business.”

Thank you for checking out our blog and your interest in Libra! We have a great team and investors who, like you, share the same goal–automation and optimization of back and middle office processes to drive global growth and adoption of blockchain and crypto. Libra Crypto Office is in production and running live customer data, so please drop us a note at [email protected] if you’re interested in a subscription–we’re ready to go!

 

Press Release – Libra Raises $7.8 Million in Series A Round

New York, NY — November 27, 2017 — Libra, a pioneer in financial software for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, today announced a $7.8 million Series A round led by a prominent, multi-billion dollar European family office. Participating investors include Liberty City Ventures, leading trader and liquidity provider XBTO, Boost VC, and Lee Linden.

The funding will be used to continue building the Libra Enterprise Platform, as well as releasing new applications and data services. Libra’s platform provides institutional-grade blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem connectivity, standardization, and delivery of data in a scalable, secure, and fully auditable solution. While the new applications and data services will provide real-time, continuous, and automated accounting, audit, and tax processing and reporting capabilities.

Launched in early 2014, Libra recently relocated to New York City, from San Francisco, to focus on customer sales and implementations.

“Libra’s vision is to be the premier provider of next generation accounting, audit, and tax software and data services for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry,” said Jake Benson, CEO of Libra. “We provide our customers three core components of value. First, a single on-ramp that connects to the many data sources within the ecosystem. Second, the real-time data processing engines and services required to continuously and automatically standardize and deliver accurate financial information. And third, blockchain-native software that’s purpose-built for this industry by a team of engineers who have designed and delivered some of the most scalable and secure financial software platforms in the world.”

In addition to the current round, the company previously raised $2.0 million in seed funding, in transactions led by Liberty City Ventures and Fenbushi Capital, bringing total capital raised to nearly $10.0 million since inception.

About Libra

Founded in 2014, Libra, a pioneer in financial software for the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, builds premier solutions that automate and optimize accounting, audit, and tax processes. Libra’s SaaS solutions are purpose-built for the world’s most demanding customers who require highly scalable and secure reporting, compliance, and control solutions. Libra is based in New York City.

 

Media Contact:

ANW Networks

Claudine Cornelis, +1 (914) 734-5268

[email protected]

Alicia V. Nieva-Woodgate, +1 (720) 808-0086

[email protected]

As cryptocurrency transactions grow exponentially, what’s needed to scale back and middle office processes?

Recently, CNBC put out a great piece on the growth of cryptocurrency funds spinning up to trade bitcoin, et al. This is a great indication of how ‘crypto’ is starting to be considered it’s own asset class. However, what we’ve learned, after talking to literally hundreds of crypto market players, is that many of the back and middle office processes used to do the financial accounting, tax reporting, and compliance are in fact manual. Or, done on spreadsheets with retrofitted applications that aren’t blockchain native!

A great example regarding the challenges of scaling accounting and tax processes in crypto is to consider Ether, a coin that’s divisible out to 18 decimal places. What happens when one crypto exchange rounds up trading data to 2 decimal places, another rounds to 6, and then you pull from the Ethereum blockchain to reconcile and it gives you all 18? How do you get everything to balance and run your tax calculation on arbitrage trades that cross multiple exchanges and chains with these types of data nuances?

What’s needed in order for the industry to deal with the nuances of cryptocurrencies and continue to grow is a solution that does four things:

First, the solution must simplify and standardize connectivity to many different crypto exchanges and blockchains (Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.). This is needed to abstract away the complexity of connecting to, and staying up-to-date with, the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This effort is expensive, front-end loaded, and requires hard dollars to maintain over time.

Second, the solution must have highly tuned and scalable processing engines that extract, normalize, and enrich data in order to execute business processes. For example, the solution must automatically isolate every part of a transaction and ensure each acquisition has the right cost basis assigned, with all fee types properly accounted for, in order to make sure your reporting and compliance is accurate.

Further, the engine must have the capability to allow users to select various accounting methods – on the fly – in order to determine gains and losses, mark your book to market (MTM), generate a P&L, and determine the NAV of your fund.

Third, the solution must include tools to analyze and control behaviors and events. Examples include, a method to monitor and notify a user when coins hit certain pricing levels, the ability to create alerts for traders when they’ve hit their trading limit, or analytics and notifications, for Exchanges, in order to define the lowest cost/fee transactions required to refresh coin inventories.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the solution must be purpose-built for the most demanding enterprises: meaning real-time, automated, append-only, continuous, scalable, and secure.

At Libra, we’re focused on helping the crypto-asset ecosystem grow and scale. We’ve built connectivity to public blockchains, crypto exchanges, and wallets, as well as the processing engines to execute real-time accounting and tax calculations, reports, and compliance.

The Libra team has also designed and engineered some of the most secure and scalable SaaS platforms used by the world’s largest banks. Simply stated, we thoroughly understand how to support the industry’s need for scalable accounting and tax processes and have built a product that’s institutional-grade from the get go.

The crypto trading industry is ready for an institutional grade back and middle office product and as a leading Blockchain/Crypto software company, Libra is looking forward to supporting enterprises as they bring more liquidity into the crypto ecosystem.

Come to Consensus Invest, in New York City on Nov. 28th, 2017 to see our new product. We’ll be there making announcements, presenting, running a booth, and demonstrating. Hope you can join us…and please feel free to share this article with your network to get the word out. Thanks!

Key takeaways from the Steptoe Blockchain and Virtual Currency Tax Issues Workshop – September 2017

Libra was invited to participate on a panel at the Blockchain and Virtual Currency Tax Issues Workshop in Washington DC hosted by Steptoe and Johnson. There were many great discussion topics, but a few stood out for us. Here are the key takeaways:

Continue reading “Key takeaways from the Steptoe Blockchain and Virtual Currency Tax Issues Workshop – September 2017”

Building “Blockchain-native” Applications

To build enterprise applications that exploit the distinct qualities of blockchain technology requires a new approach. The application design must focus on adapting the core blockchain technology functions to meet business user needs. We refer to the resulting solutions as “blockchain-native” applications. Blockchain technology has the potential to radically reduce workflows and eliminate unnecessary intermediaries from business operations, but to fully realize these benefits, applications must understand and utilize the unique characteristics of blockchain technology. Blockchain-native applications are built expressly to accomplish this.

Continue reading “Building “Blockchain-native” Applications”

Using Libra’s Platform – Keyrus announces industry-leading blockchain connectors for Qlik Sense and Alteryx

Keyrus, an international consultancy in Data Intelligence, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Management, is excited to release the industry- leading blockchain connectors for the popular self-service data tools: Qlik Sense and Alteryx. Continue reading “Using Libra’s Platform – Keyrus announces industry-leading blockchain connectors for Qlik Sense and Alteryx”

Is Blockchain Tech Enabling Next-Gen ERP?

Earlier this year I posted a note regarding why we believe Libra, or something like it,will be a required architectural component as the blockchain tech industry matures. I also futured on our thoughts as to how we will compete against existing infrastructure. This follow-up note frames up some of our thinking on that topic as well as offers some additional perspectives.

At Libra we are focused on accelerating the adoption of blockchain tech. As part of that effort, we have spent considerable time thinking through how to tell the story of the technology to non-technologists. We believe this is an important endeavor because almost all of the literature in the “What is Blockchain?” canon, some of which I wrote while leading the practice at PwC, describes the technology but doesn’t contextualize it in a way that draws on the experiences of non-technical business users. We think this is a gap that needs more focus, otherwise we are going to face challenges in persuading executives to pull the trigger on pilot/production budgets.

Continue reading “Is Blockchain Tech Enabling Next-Gen ERP?”

Libra, “Required”?

I took a bit of flack from some friends about a comment in the recent Coindesk article where I stated that Libra’s ambition is to be “required” for all blockchain-based projects.  Please see this post as some of the thinking to that perspective.  In retrospect I guess I could have added “or something like it,” but hey, why not dream big!

 

Say you’re a tax accountant at an Asset Mgt. shop and one of your responsibilities is to calculate taxable positions and outcomes.  You review transactional data, calculate the capital gain/loss, and then forward the results to your Controller so they can roll the numbers into the provision.

 

What data might you need to execute this task if one of the systems you interact with is a blockchain and/or smart contract?

Continue reading “Libra, “Required”?”

PwC FinTech Lead Joins Blockchain Startup Libra

PwC US FinTech lead Jeremy Drane has officially left the ‘Big four’ firm to serve as chief commercial officer for blockchain startup Libra.

 

Formerly a startup offering tax compliance and reporting software to bitcoin users, the move comes amid a transition at Libra that finds the startup seeking to establish itself as a “management information layer” for blockchain technologies.

 

In accordance with this goal, Libra used the announcement to highlight other recent hires from the enterprise finance sector, noting its COO Dave Albert was formerly with BNY Mellon, while VP of product strategy Deepak Rao boasts experience at Visa.

 

In interview, Libra CEO Jake Benson spoke about larger changes at the company, which raised $500,000 in funding in late 2014.

 

Benson told CoinDesk:

“The marketplace knows us as LibraTax and I want the marketplace to know that that was a stepping stone to where we’re at now.”

 

Drane further spoke to the reason behind his departure, voicing his belief Libra can provide an essential service by helping non-technical business execs better utilize blockchain data.

 

In addition to his larger FinTech role, Drane was also PwC’s blockchain and smart contracts lead.

 

“Any blockchain is a transactional system, and those transactions will need to be enriched so that business users can execute various business processes,” Drane said.

Product overhaul

 

Key to this success, according to Drane and Benson, will be Libra’s enterprise product, which offers a tools layer that allows for both reporting on blockchain and non-blockchain data and an interface layer that allows for this data to be visualized.

 

The company said it intends to continue to offer its prior tax product.

 

“Essentially, Libra is focused on reducing the cost, time and risk associated with executing blockchain experiments and implementations, while increasing the probability of funding and executive support as projects move through enterprise software evaluation processes,” Drane explained.

 

During his time with PwC, Drane was one of its more vocal executives in speaking about the potential for blockchain, overseeing its partnership with blockchain industry firms including Blockstream, Digital Asset Holdings and Eris Industries.

 

Benson sought to position Libra now as similarly well-rounded, noting the company now has executives from PwC, BNY Mellon, Capgemini and Visa in its ranks.

‘Big four’ changes

 

Overall, both Drane and Benson spoke to a change they believe is coming to professional services, whereby blockchain becomes a key part of how enterprise firms automate reporting needs.

 

“What’s going to most likely happen is ‘Big four’ structures will change,” Drane said. “The partnerships, the tech players, the ecosystems that they create to support their businesses will change, and we expect that we will be a player in that change.”

 

Drane said that Libra’s goal is to be “required” in every blockchain application, a goal he asserts the company has the ability to reach.

 

The company stressed that its “design-driven” interface is an immediate competitive advantage today, positioning it as more refined than current open-source blockchain tools.

 

However, Benson sought to position Libra as having room for expansion even beyond its current goals.

 

For example, he foreshadowed a future in which consumer “life events” could take place on a blockchain, leading any business liabilities to be instantly automated.

 

Benson concluded:

“Whatever the case, whatever the asset class, whatever the protocol, you need a set of tools. We’re the Microsoft Office for tools for blockchains for business.”