It looks like JPMorgan Chase is looking to reestablish itself as a leading cryptocurrency company. Despite many years of bashing digital assets, the company has recently announced the introduction of its new blockchain-cryptocurrency division known as Onyx.
JPMorgan Stretches Further Into the Blockchain World
To be fair, it’s not so much JPMorgan that has been unkind to bitcoin, but rather its head executive Jamie Dimon. In the past, Dimon has referred to bitcoin as a fraudulent currency, which many analysts and traders haven’t taken lightly. At the same time, the company has also sought to release its own digital currency known as JPM Coin, which was unveiled for commercial use earlier this week.
Thus, it could be that the criticism of bitcoin had something to do with the competitive nature of the bank. As it stands, the currency was released just a few days ago and is already being utilized by a “large technology client” according to Takis Georgakopoulos, the global head of wholesale payments for JPMorgan Chase. While Takis did not name the client, he further commented that several others are looking to utilize JPM Coin for payments as well.
In an interview, Takis explained what JPMorgan is looking to accomplish with its blockchain branch:
We are launching Onyx because we believe we are shifting to a period of commercialization of those technologies, moving from research and development to something that can become a real business.
Onyx is looking to push digital payments deeper into mainstream territory. Currently, the blockchain forum employs more than 100 individuals. Takis is confident that blockchain can potentially solve many of the problems that make their way through the financial space. For example, cross-border payments can initially require lengthy wait times and are occasionally difficult to process.
Furthermore, he says that processing paper checks can also be rough given how many there are and that blockchain can prevent private information from falling into the wrong hands. He mentions:
We’re talking about hundreds of millions of checks being sent. Using a version of blockchain with the participants being the main issuers of checks and the main operators of lockboxes, it’s possible we can save 75 percent of the total cost for the industry today, and make checks available in a matter of minutes as opposed to days.
Likely Setting a Trend?
The CEO of Onyx – Umar Farooq – says that the company is just months from being launched commercially. He’s confident that the branch will become a new staple of digital payments and that other firms are likely to follow suit. He explains:
If you think about blockchain, we are either somewhere in the trough of disillusionment or just beyond that on the hype curve. That’s why at JPMorgan we’ve been relatively quiet about it until we were ready to scale it and commercialize it.