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Citi joins big-bank brethren in backing blockchain firm Axoni

Axoni, a distributed-ledger tech firm, has scored another big-bank investor in Citigroup.

The New York startup would not specify the amount Citi has invested in it, but it now sizes its Series A round at more than $20 million. When the round was announced in December, with Wells Fargo and Euclid Opportunities, ICAP’s fintech investment business, as the lead investors, the total was $18 million. Simple math therefore suggests Citi put in more than $2 million.

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It is worth noting that the investment is coming from Citi itself, not the company's Citi Ventures fund. Axoni’s other Series A investors include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Thomson Reuters, Andreessen Horowitz, FinTech Collective, F-Prime Capital Partners, and Digital Currency Group.

The banks' backing of Axoni speaks to a larger trend occurring in the nascent blockchain field: the spreading of bets. Banks are joining — and in some cases, leaving — various projects as they try to pick the winners in the still-evolving technology field.

Citigroup and Axoni "“have collaborated on a number of successful, high-profile distributed ledger deployments," the startup said.Bloomberg NewsAlthough Citi is new to the company as an investor, the two companies “have collaborated on a number of successful, high-profile distributed ledger deployments that have validated the technology and its benefits of data synchronization, automation, and auditability to market participants,” Axoni said in a press release Thursday.

Those projects include the optimization of post-trade data management for credit-default and equity swaps and the management of reference data. Citi is also “actively engaged” in Axoni’s work in the replatforming of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp.’s trade information warehouse, the startup said.

In January, the DTCC tapped IBM, in partnership with Axoni and R3 to use distributed ledger technology to improve post-trade events in derivatives such as record keeping and payment management.

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