Category Archives: Amber Baldet

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Ethereum Gets A Thumbs Up From JP Morgan

The Australian Financial Review reports that JP Morgan has given Ethereum a solid thumbs up with its commitment to Quorum.

Described by JP Morgan as “an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum” Quorum continues to find favor with the bank, according to the head of blockchain initiatives. Umar Farooq has been praising its use for tokenizing gold bars in custody by other financial institutions, this despite frequent disparaging comments made by the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, about cryptocurrency’s flagship digital currency, Bitcoin. Farooq commented recently:

“There are people outside our firm using Quorum to tokenize gold, for instance. They wrap a gold bar into a tamper-proof case electronically tagged, and they can track the gold bar from the mine to endpoint – with the use case being, if you know it’s a socially responsible mine, someone will be willing to pay a higher spread on that gold versus if you don’t know where it comes from. Diamonds is another example … We are the only financial player that owns the entire stack, from the application to the protocol. We are big believers in Ethereum.”

Dimon still maintains that the emphasis in the financial sector should remain on the blockchain, rather than Bitcoin which he maintains, he has unintentionally become the spokesperson against, arguing, “I didn’t want to be the spokesperson against Bitcoin. I just don’t give a ….., that’s the point…Blockchain is real, it’s a technology, but Bitcoin isn’t the same as a fiat currency.”

The New York global banking giant is flexing its blockchain muscle to speed up international payments with its Interbank Information Network (IIN) launched in 2017. The Quorum-based blockchain has attracted the Union Bank of the Philippines as its first user. Among other banks on the network will be Australia’s ANZ, one of the country’s big four, and Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, JP Morgan appears to vacillate between rejection, tolerance or possible adoption, depending on the spokesperson at any given time, many of whom have now moved on, some to launch their own startups, such as Amber Baldet, the original face of the Quorum project.

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JP Morgan Adds 75 More Cogs to Its Blockchain Machine

America’s largest bank, JP Morgan, has revealed that it has signed up 75 banks to its live blockchain service.

The New York global banking giant is flexing its blockchain muscle to speed up global payments with its Interbank Information Network (IIN) launched in 2017. The Quorum-based blockchain has attracted the Union Bank of the Philippines as its first signing. Among other banks on the network will be Australia’s ANZ, one of the country’s big four, and Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.

The move records the largest number of banks to join a live application of blockchain technology. It is unsurprising that JP Morgan is taking the blockchain route with such a big step, given comments earlier this year by the bank’s crypto-skeptic CEO Jamie Dimon, who argued:

“I probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency. But it’s not the same as gold or fiat currencies. Those are supported by law, police, courts. They’re not replicable, and there are strictures on them. Blockchain, on the other hand, is real. We’re testing it and will use it for a whole lot of things.”

Emma Loftus, JP Morgan’s head of global payments and receivables explains the thinking behind the multiple bank signings commenting, “We saw tremendous interest among correspondent banks after the pilot launched in 2017, asking if they could join.” She asserts that the IIN will make cross-border payments a far more speedy and efficient service, improving efficiency as more banks join the system.

When it comes to cryptocurrency, JP Morgan appears to vacillate between rejection, tolerance or possible adoption, depending on the spokesperson at any given time, many of whom have now moved on, some to launch their own startups, such as Amber Baldet, the original face of the Quorum project. Of the bank’s future, Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of treasury services, maintains that blockchain is a tool for the future:

“We’ve been actively exploring how emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI (artificial intelligence), and an enhanced digital experience can be deployed in our treasury services business to better serve our clients’ ever-changing needs.”

 

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JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon Backtracks on Crytpo Comments, Backs Blockchain

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has stated in a recent interview that he “probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency“.

Dimon was quizzed in an interview with the Harvard Business Review in the latest issue about what his current views on cryptocurrency were; a reasonable enough question to ask, given some of his past scathing statements about the technology.

Just to revisit some of these notable moments where the CEO of the largest bank in the US expressed himself without any attempt at holding back. Past tirades against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies included descriptions of “fraud”, “worse than tulips” and suggestions that he’d fire any JPMorgan trader trading in Bitcoin “in a second”, citing crypto as “stupid” and “dangerous”. His finest hour came with this statement:

“If you were in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a bunch of parts like that, or if you were a drug dealer, a murderer, stuff like that, you are better off doing it in Bitcoin than US dollars. So there may be a market for that, but it’d be a limited market.”

So why then should he not “say any more about cryptocurrency”, having said so much already? He did speak about cryptocurrency in January of this year and he’d clearly cooled, going for the commonly-used approach used by Bitcoin detractors, of separating crypto from the technology behind it. Talking to Bloomberg, he commented:

“The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICOs you have to look at individually. The Bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about Bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Quite a different approach. So between January and August of this year, has his stance warmed even further, or possibly less cooled, towards a subject that in his own words he’s “not interested in? He said in his most recent interview:

“I probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency. But it’s not the same as gold or fiat currencies. Those are supported by law, police, courts. They’re not replicable, and there are strictures on them. Blockchain, on the other hand, is real. We’re testing it and will use it for a whole lot of things.”

Clearly the same stance as earlier in the year, but none of the previous venom of earlier statements that gained Dimon some unwanted notoriety from the cryptocurrency community at the time.

Some of his former executives clearly see things a different way. Daniel Masters, ex-chief of JPMorgan’s global energy trading has said that cryptocurrencies could no longer be ignored by central banks and governments. Amber Baldet, former head of the blockchain arm at Chase has suggested that banks trading in cryptocurrencies is imminent.

Perhaps the reason why so many of JPMorgan employees such as Baldet are creating their own startups is simply that they can see the potential for both blockchain and cryptocurrency in a future financial system, something that their old boss is still unable to do.

 

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Former JPMorgan Blockchain Head Says That Banks Are Close To Adopting Cryto

Amber Baldet, former head of the blockchain arm at Wall Street’s JPMorgan Chase has suggested that banks trading in cryptocurrencies is imminent.

The ex-bank executive, who has now launched her own startup Clovyr, says crypto business will be conducted by banks, “sooner than people probably think,” although she admits that the legal and regulatory framework remains a challenge to financial institutions.

Baldet played a critical role in establishing the bank’s enterprise blockchain strategy, and its flagship Quorom project and was listed in Fortune’s list of the most influential young people in business. She maintains that another challenge to banks will be custody issues, although banks are beginning to find their own resolutions to the problem, with some announced during the past week.

Goldman Sachs has announced its own plans recently to open a cryptocurrency desk which will make it the first of Wall Street banks to take such a significant step. But, it remains to be seen if Wall Street takes this direction in the future. The biggest issue for banks right now is a lack of clear regulation, as they are strictly prohibited from providing any unregulated services.

Founder of the BKCM digital asset fund and contributor to CNBC’s Fast Money, Brian Kelly, has stated that he sees Wall Street becoming a major factor in crypto market popularity, as new institutions such as Goldman Sachs come on board, commenting that this could cause a market surge.

Baldet’s former employer, J.P. Morgan Chase, developed its blockchain technology two years ago for clearing and settling derivatives and cross-border payments, and has shown signs recently it may be leaning towards cryptocurrency, following in the footsteps of Sachs with the new appointment of Oliver Harris as head of cryptocurrency assets strategy.

Nasdaq is already supporting cryptocurrency exchanges, and the company is certainly not new to cryptocurrency’s underlying technology blockchain. Apart from its long-term relationship with blockchain startup, Chain, it has recently announced a collaboration with cryptocurrency exchange Gemini.

In an interview with CNBC, Nasdaq’s CEO Adena Friedman said the firm could one day launch a crypto exchange, commenting: “Certainly Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time…I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist, it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature.”

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Amber Baldet Steps Down From JPMorgan, Pursues Own Startup

Amber Baldet, the face of JPMorgan’s corporate blockchain project Quorum and former head at the bank’s Blockchain Center of Excellence, has stepped down from her post. Baldet is reportedly seeking to head up her own blockchain startup, after having set the direction for much of JPMorgan’s blockchain ventures.

According to Fortune, a JPMorgan spokesperson confirmed Baldet’s resignation, adding in a statement that “We respect her desire to start her own venture and we wish her nothing but the best.”.

An internal bank memo released on Monday indicated that Baldet’s replacement had already been appointed. She will be replaced by Christine Moy, currently a senior product manager at the bank’s blockchain center. Moy, incidentally, was the first hire made by Baldet during her tenure, hinting that she had handpicked her successor.

Moy will be expected to continue JPMorgan’s push into corporate blockchain technology, primarily through its Quorum private blockchain, which is self-described as “an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum”. Its popularity has already fueled rumors of a spinoff, in the belief that a platform independent from the bank could appeal to a wider audience.

Moy had been working closely with Bardet in JPMorgan and was most recently leading product development across its investor services and capital markets businesses.

Bardet “overwhelmed” by support

A popular figure in the industry, well-wishers and offers appear to be inundating Baldet’s social media accounts. She today tweeted that “… I currently have 2,080 LinkedIn requests and my DMs are basically melting. This level of support is amazing and a bit overwhelming.”

So I currently have 2,080 LinkedIn requests and my DMs are basically melting. This level of support is amazing and a bit overwhelming. Please hang tight if I don’t respond right away, I’m working on it! 🙏🏻🥂
https://t.co/Ho9TGOxaeu

— Amber (@AmberBaldet) April 3, 2018

Amber Baldet, 35, is a regular attendant at hacker conferences, seen as one of the few in the blockchain industry to successfully assume the seemingly contrasting landscapes of the corporate realm and crypto sphere. Bloomberg has described her as “comfortable in the bank world as well as the cypherpunk or crypto community, and she seems equally authentic for both”.

 

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