It’s Not Bitcoin Trading — But J.P. Morgan Is Heading Deeper Into Crypto
As Wall Street giants circle Bitcoin and the Blockchain, the largest of the bunch by assets, J.P. Morgan, is sinking its toes in a little deeper.
J.P. Morgan created a new position dubbed Head of Crypto-Assets Strategy, naming Oliver Harris, previously head of the banking giant’s in-residence program for fintech startups, to the role. With his new title, Harris will seek out cryptocurrency projects that can be taken to market, Fortune has learned.
Financial News first reported the news.
Harris will work under the umbrella of J.P. Morgan’s blockchain initiative, headed by Umar Farooq. The bank has been experimenting with the blockchain — an immutable ledger of, oftentimes, transactions — over the past two years in a bid to solve banking-related inefficiencies. One experiment resulted in the creation of Quorum, an Ethereum-based blockchain for payments aimed at businesses. Notably, J.P. Morgan partnered with the team behind cryptocurrency Zcash to increase the privacy on that blockchain. The bank is now said to be considering a spinoff of that project.
Harris is also set to lead the execution of that project, working closely with Christine Moy, program lead for J.P. Morgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence.
That’s not to say the banking giant is suddenly hopping into Bitcoin trading in the way Goldman Sachs has done — at least not yet.
When asked about the future of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and the bank potentially trading the asset, J.P. Morgan’s Head of Corporate and Investment Banking told CNBC: “We are looking into the space.”
“I have no doubt that in one way or another, the technology will play a role,” he said Wednesday. “If we need to clear futures of Bitcoin, can we do it? Yes. Have we done it? No.”