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JPMorgan launches its own cryptocurrency

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

The sale of Quorum to ConsenSys does not sign the end of JPMorgan’s activities in the blockchain. It creates a new unit, Onyx. Its “JPM Coin” token is also ready for commercialization.

For several years, the American investment bank had been engaged in the development of a private blockchain based on Ethereum. However, Quorum changed hands in 2020 through its takeover by ConsenSys.

But this transaction does not mean the end of JPMorgan’s investments in the blockchain. It now has a new entity dedicated to this technology: Onyx. Its scope includes services and blockchain technologies for the financial market. The subsidiary is notably in charge of Liink, JPMorgan’s former Interbank Information Network.

“Onyx is at the forefront of a major change in the financial services industry. This new business unit reflects J.P. Morgan’s commitment to innovation (…) we continue to develop leading-edge technology for a better, faster, and more inclusive financial system,” said the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon.

Umar Farooq will lead Onyx. Farooq previously led the bank’s blockchain projects, including its Quorum developments. He will be responsible for making the blockchain a real source of revenue for JPMorgan.

And Liink is certainly the bank’s main product to date. The company specifies that users of its platform will have two new applications in the future: “Confirm” and “Format”.

“Confirm allows account information to be validated prior to making a payment to reduce operating costs associated with incorrect payment instructions and potentially help reduce fraud. Format enables validation of payment instructions to verify that a payment message complies with key country and currency specific information requirements” details a senior executive at CNBC.

However, these are not the only major announcements from JPMorgan. Its own cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin, is now ready for commercial use. The bank says that a major technology company is already using the token for international payments. Its identity remains a mystery, however.

The creation of the JPM Coin token dates back to February 2019. At that time, the bank was banking on its use in cross-border payments. The cryptocurrency is intended to make payments faster and cheaper. Each JPM Coin token can be exchanged for a US dollar or other fiat currencies.

The stablecoin received a frosty reception from Ripple in 2019, for whom the JPM Coin is a rival to the XRP on international transfers. Its CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, believed that the token was of no interest and that major banking institutions would not adopt it.