JP Morgan launches JPM Coin, becomes first major US bank to launch digital coin

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Investment banking giant JP Morgan has announced the launch of the ‘JPM Coin’, which aims to offer the instantaneous transfer of payments between institutional accounts utilising blockchain technology.

In a Q&A-masquerading-as-news published on JP Morgan’s website, the company confirmed the coin was in the prototype stage and that it would ‘actively engage regulators’ as progress was made. The move is being seen as a first in terms of a major US bank testing and using digital coins.

The move may come as something of a surprise to crypto enthusiasts given chief executive Jamie Dimon’s previous comments with regard to Bitcoin. In 2017 Dimon told a banking conference in New York that Bitcoin was a fraud and that he would fire “in a second” any employee “stupid” enough to be found trading in it.

However, blockchain technologies on a wider scale are a different story. Speaking in Buenos Aires last year, CIO Lori Beer noted how blockchain was one of three key focuses for JP Morgan alongside artificial intelligence and APIs, saying it will “replace existing technology.”

Writing earlier today, the company clarified its viewpoint. “We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” said Umar Farooq, JP Morgan head of digital treasury services and blockchain. “As a globally regulated bank, we believe we have a unique opportunity to develop the capability in a responsible way with the oversight of our regulators.

“Ultimately, we believe that JPM Coin can yield significant benefits for blockchain applications by reducing clients’ counterparty and settlement risk, decreasing capital requirements and enabling instant value transfer.”

The coin will run on Ethereum-based Quorum, with details having previously been released over its experimentation and development with a private blockchain platform.

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