• Brian Behlendorf helped develop the Apache web-server software
  • Hyperledger Project wants to overhaul business transactions

The Hyperledger Project, the developer of blockchain software that’s backed by IBM, Wells Fargo & Co. and other titans of technology and finance, has a new leader.

The group has hired Brian Behlendorf, 43, as executive director, according to a statement Thursday. He was a key developer of Apache, the software that powers much of the web, and also worked for the World Economic Forum and President Barack Obama’s administration.

The consortium is promoting blockchain, the ledger software that makes bitcoin possible, as a way to reshape how business transactions are recorded. Proponents of the technology argue it could dramatically speed up the flow of money and also provide a more-secure platform for moving funds around. Even if only a tenth of blockchain backers’ dreams for blockchain come true, the software will make a major impact, Behlendorf said in an interview.

“This is an important space,” said Behlendorf, who’s joining the Hyperledger Project from Mithril Capital Management LLC, a San Francisco-based technology investor. “We will build the plumbing for this next generation of Internet technologies and next-generation capabilities.”

The Hyperledger Project is an open-source endeavor, meaning it’s developing software out in the open and anybody can contribute. Apache, Behlendorf’s former realm, is also an open-source project. International Business Machines Corp. has contributed tens of thousands of lines of computer code to the Hyperledger Project, as well as dedicated developers and intellectual property. The consortium’s members also include Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp., CME Group Inc. and London Stock Exchange Group Plc.

In the world of finance, blockchain offers the prospect of accelerating the often-lengthy process of shifting assets to buyers from sellers.

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