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Former Trump Advisor Gary Cohn Joins Marina del Rey Blockchain Firm

Former U.S. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn has joined Marina del Rey-based blockchain startup Spring Labs’ board of advisors.

Cohn, a former chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., now sits alongside Capital One Financial Corp. co-founder Nigel Morris and former chairwoman of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Sheila Bair, among others.

Cohn’s tenure in the Trump administration included the controversial tax reform package, which passed by Congress in late 2017. He resigned in March after objecting to President Trump’s plans for steel and aluminum tariffs.

“I have been very interested in blockchain technology for a number of years, and Spring Labs is developing a network that could have profound implications for the financial services sector, among others,” Cohn said in a statement, adding he is “excited to actively support the Spring Labs team in the development of this important business and network.”

Spring Labs was incorporated in November 2017 by Chief Executive Adam Jiwan, a former Avant Inc. investor and hedge fund manager at TPG-Axon Capital Management. Two former Avant Inc. executives followed Jiwan to Spring Labs, including its Chief Executive Al Goldstein. According to Forbes, Spring Labs aims to go public in early 2019. Avant reports it has upwards of 600,000 customers and has originated more than $5 billion in loans on its platform.

Spring Labs utilizes Avant’s software-as-a-service business platform Amount, which helps financial institutions manage credit offerings and mitigate fraud.

In March 2018 Spring Labs raised $14.8 million in a round led by Menlo Park-based August Capital Corp., along with Cambridge, Mass., investment firm GreatPoint Ventures and Multicoin Capital Management, based in Austin, Texas, to construct the Spring Protocol, a way for lenders, data providers and banks to securely exchange data through a blockchain network.

Regarding Cohn’s addition to Spring Labs’ board, Jiwan said in a statement, “Gary brings a wealth of experience in understanding the complexities of the global financial markets and an unparalleled network. We’re beyond excited to work with him to execute on our vision to transform how information and data are shared globally across a host of major industries.”

Jiwan also hinted that Spring Labs will have more upcoming news, including “some public announcements regarding the development of the network and partnerships in the coming months.”

Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at samore@labusinessjournal.com or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.

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