Strategic Investment Group of AmEx is Taking Interest in Blockchain Technology

October 27, 2015         By: Asif Imtiaz

American Express Ventures, the strategic investment group within American Express is recently made US$ 12 million investment in Abra’s Series A funding round. Abra is a remittance service that utilizes blockchain technology.

Apparently, American Express Ventures is considering the core blockchain technology used by Abra to explore more into the overall cryptocurrency.

Harshul Sanghi, American Express Ventures’ Managing Partner, recently told the media that AmEx might start utilizing the blockchain technology in the near future. Commenting on his company’s investments in Abra, he said that “It’s very, very early days for us, right? And … we get to explore and see how the space is going to evolve.”

However, he indicated that American Express Ventures is definitely looking to explore the opportunity to try out what Abra is doing. According to Mr. Sanghi, AmEx is also looking to provide the resources it may require in the coming days. AmEx will, for now, take more of an advisory role for the startup. “[American Express Ventures] think it was a good investment, [Abra is] a good company to partner with and see how the space evolves,” he said.

While he tried to keep as much distance as possible from any prediction regarding is company’s investments in Abra, he also sounded optimistic about the collaboration between the Bitcoin community and AmEx. He diplomatically put it as “Let’s see what currencies are important and we’ll transact in the currencies that our customers want to transact in.”

“As we watch the digital currency industry develop, we have seen that blockchain technology and the distributed ledger can play an important role in shaping the future,” he added.

While Abra’s team has worked on the service for around 18 months prior to the launch, according to Sanghi, the user experience has room to improve. That’s part of the reason American Express Ventures is still keeping an eye on how Abra develops its business. That would give American Express additional data to further explore the use of the Blockchain into traditional banking applications.