Westpac buys stake in Canberra crypto king QuintessenceLabs

Quantum key distribution kit to be deployed internally, bank says

Australian banking goliath Westpac will become a substantial stakeholder in Canberra based QuintessenceLabs (QLabs) and use outfit's quantum key distribution technology for its internal infrastructure.

QLabs commercialises research from the Australian National University to produce quantum key distribution (QKD) and random key generation platforms for enterprises, using off-the-shelf telecommunications componentry to lower costs.

The deal means Westpac will hold an 11 percent stake in the company giving it a seat on the board with the option to increase its share to 16 percent.

The Australian Financial Review reports the bank made a direct investment such that its internal tech teams can be more closely involved with QLabs boffins.

Westpac technology manager Robert Wilson will join the QLabs board of directors which includes former Westpac executive Jon Nicholson who joined in April.

QLabs head Vikram Sharma told The Fin the company will use the undisclosed amount of funding to expand its technical staff, and possibly open offices in the UK and Singapore.

It recieved some $1.2 million in Federal Government seed funding in 2010, and was named most innovative small business this year by the Australian Information Security Association.

In 2013, QLabs worked with the University of New South Wales to put together a validation network in Canberra, connecting the ANU to the Australian Defence Force Academy.

Westpac did not immediately say where it would deploy the QLabs technology. ®

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