JPMorgan Chase is considering establishing its Quorum blockchain as a separate company in a bid to widen its appeal to other financial institutions.
The open-source Quorum chain was originally developed two years ago as a permissioned version of Ethereum, designed for the purposes of clearing and settling derivatives. It can also be used to send and receive cross-border payments.
In a Reuters report, a source close to the situation said that conversations about whether or not Quorum will be established as a separate entity are “still in the early days.” However, a JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment on the “speculation” that Quorum would soon be its own company, saying that in any case, “Quorum has become an extremely successful enterprise platform even beyond financial services and we’re excited about its potential.”
JPMorgan continued with a bullish statement on blockchain: “we continue to believe distributed ledger technology will play a transformative role in business which is why we are actively building multiple blockchain solutions.”
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If a spin-off should take place, it’s also unclear whether or not the current JPMorgan employees involved in the Quorum project would join the new entity. If they did, among them may be JPMorgan Blockchain Center of Excellence executive director Amber Baldet, who has until now acted as the head of the Quorum project.
Big Banks and Blockchain
Quorum is just one example of many blockchain projects that large banks have been developing over the past year.
Bloomberg reported in January that Bank of America had received (or at least applied for) 43 different patents for blockchain-related products.
Last August, the Utility Settlement Coin garnered Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, MUFG, and State Street as new participants, following founding entities UBS, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander, NEX, and Clearmatics.
The R3 banking consortium has developed Corda, a “distributed ledger platform that is the outcome of over two years of intense research and development by R3 and 80 of the world’s largest financial institutions.”
It’s worth noting, however, that most financial institutions are still somewhat wary of blockchain application within their existing systems. JPMorgan was one of a few banks that made the decision to exit the R3 consortium last year.