Category Archives: JP Morgan

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JP Morgan Blockchain to Have Privacy Feature

JP Morgan Blockchain to Have Privacy Feature

Finance Magnates has reported that Wall Street banking giant JP Morgan will be developing privacy features for its native blockchain transactions, and will likely add that to Quorum.

This is only the latest development in the blockchain ambitions of a bank that also launched its own native cryptocurrency dubbed JPM Coin in February, professed to have institutional interests in mind.

Accorting to reports, this privacy feature was already added to the Zether protocol and is designed to be added on to any blockchain based on Ethereum, be it private or public. Perhaps more surprisingly, the bank has also said that it will release the new extension with an open source license, hinting that it hopes to see adoption proliferate.

Zether was developed by fintech researchers and academics as a payment mechanism that would work with any smart contract platform to add an anonymous layer to digital currency transactions. Apparently, the bank’s protocol will now hide the transaction amount as well as sender identity. Quorum head Oli Harris said:

“In the basic Zether, the account balances and the transfer amounts are concealed but the participants’ identities are not necessarily concealed. So we have solved that. In our implementation, we provide a proof protocol for the anonymous extension in which the sender may hide herself and the transactions recipients in a larger group of parties.”

Harris added that the bank had future intentions to enter the industry of blockchain payments, and had already created ties with over 200 banks to use a distributed ledger to share financial data. He stressed that the new feature would not have an impact on existing protocol:

“… it’s more just an additional functionality that would build in. Of course, we are still very early days in terms of doing any detailed testing around performance and scalability in production networks.”

 

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Bitcoin Retreats From $8,000 as Bulls Pause for Breath

Bitcoin Retreats From ,000 as Bulls Pause for Breath

After days of incredible resilience to recover from pullbacks and make renewed attempts to overcome a major resistance point at USD 8,000, Bitcoin bulls finally relented in trading today, with the Asian market unable to overcome selling pressure from the rest of the world.

Only one major push happened throughout yesterday, when Bitcoin price was just shy of the marker at USD 7,993 (CoinDesk), but by the time Asian markets woke up, the slide towards its current levels at USD 7,645 (7:05am UTC) had already begun.

The positivism has not died out yet, however, as trading volumes also suggest that sellers do not have the strength to continue the trend significantly, and buying momentum could just be gearing in as short-term scalpers continue to look for fast entry points below USD 8,000. All the same, the USD 9,000 target does seem to have been postponed for the time being.

On social media, some are taking out their frustrations on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), who further delayed the decisions on Bitcoin ETFs. Most don’t take this to be legitimate, however, as that action had been fully expected as only the latest in a series of rejections and postponements on decisions by the regulatory body. Others are blaming major banks like JP Morgan for putting out “disinformation”, with the intent to push prices down to present new buying opportunities.

The banks will put out disinformation, with the aim of lowering the price of Bitcoin. The intention will then be for Banks to purchase very large quantities of Bitcoin at discounted rates. https://t.co/1wMzOxl5MJ

— Bitcoin, Blockchain, Crypto & Digital Assets (@BbcDlearning) May 20, 2019

 

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Expert: Not Unreasonable for Crypto in Business

Expert: Not Unreasonable for Crypto in Business

Blockchain Capital co-founder and director Gavin Brown has told CNBC that it really is not “unreasonable” for multinational businesses to consider their own cryptocurrencies for transactions, at least in the medium term.

Brown said that in the current context when hugely successful multinationals such as McDonald’s actually have a better credit rating than some entire countries, the concept of issuing their own crypto and requiring customers to make purchases with them is “not that outlandish”.

He said this during the Credit Suisse Global Supertrends Conference held in Singapore, insisting that a company-owned crypto could even be set up within three hours to conduct transactions with clients:

“What we’re seeing really is the democratization of money so you know, if you and I wanted to, we could create a CNBC coin.”

The investment expert acknowledged that the success of such a coin would of course depend on the level of trust customers have with the brand: “They will trust it if they trust your brand and if they trust your product.”
A Financial Economics lecturer at the Manchester Metropolitan University, Brown demonstrated his point with the example of prepaid cards issued by Starbucks, whom he says has “over a billion dollars worth of assets worth on their balance sheet of people who prepaid coffee on their charge cards in advance”.
He also commented positively on the efforts by Facebook and JP Morgan to create their own cryptocurrencies, calling the former “the next big one that’s coming”.

 

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JP Morgan Promotes “Faster, Cheaper” Blockchain Payments

JP Morgan Promotes “Faster, Cheaper” Blockchain Payments

A JP Morgan executive has taken the opportunity on camera to promote blockchain payment methods as ”faster and cheaper” than the traditional alternatives.

Ron Karpovich, Global Head of eCommerce Solutions at JPMorgan Chase, was interviewed by CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier today where he explained blockchain technology was capable of proving the same, if not better, services than traditional banks while requiring lower fees.

Karpovich added that he saw the technology gave opportunities for “more partnership [with traditional banks] instead of competition”.

The self-proclaimed ”specialist in Cross-Border Payments” added that he ultimately believes it is only matter of time before e-commerce customers begin using blockchain to make their payments, even though it may remain ”behind the scenes” and customers may not be aware of it.

JP Morgan’s own JPM Coin was defended by the executive who determined it did not necessarily make the company convert in favor of cryptocurrency at large.

”I think there’s a difference between trading a cryptocurrency that’s in the market that’s ubiquitous versus using the technology to enhance your payments infrastructure,” he said, reaffirming that the financial institution’s interest in blockchain was to make payments ”faster and cheaper.”

 

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London Stock Exchange Leads $20 Million Investment Round for UK Crypto Startup Nivaura

London Stock Exchange Leads  Million Investment Round for UK Crypto Startup Nivaura

London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) revealed today that it had invested in London-based cryptocurrency startup Nivaura, leading a GBP 15 million (USD 20 million) funding round.

The investment was revealed in a joint statement from the two companies which acknowledged LSEG had paid an undisclosed amount for a minority stake.

Nivaura was the company responsible for the world’s first cryptocurrency-denominated bond issuance back in November 2017, offering clients a platform to manage corporate bonds, loans, and equity, whilst giving the option to settle transactions via digital tokens.

Through the use of tokens, Nivaura says it can provide a solution up to 80% faster than traditional options while proponents have argued the tokenization of debts is far more economical and can give smaller companies greater access to capital markets.

LSEG’s investment indicates the continually growing interest in blockchain and cryptocurrencies from mainstream finance, despite much negative rhetoric that emerges from the very same sector.

Earlier this month JP Morgan announced the launch of its own digital token pegged to USD, targetting institutional clients that are looking to reduce the typical settlement time of transactions. Despite being USD-pegged, the multinational investment bank says it is not a stablecoin, nor should it be considered legal tender.

JP Morgan’s apparent U-turn regarding its attitudes towards cryptocurrencies has been controversial for many in the community, with Jerry Brito – executive director at Coin Center telling Market Watch ”it’s not public, and it’s not permissionless, so it’s not a cryptocurrency”.

 

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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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Barclays Quash Crypto Trading Desk Rumour But Monitor Developments

Barclays bank has confirmed that it has no plans to set up a cryptocurrency trading desk as previously rumored.

British banking giant Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK recently announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”. However, despite a report from CoinDesk earlier this month indicating that Barclays was monitoring client responses to the possibility of opening a trading desk for the cryptocurrency, the bank doesn’t appear ready to take the next step, and still seems to be monitoring the space.

Barclays’ spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement last month:

“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,”

In fact, Barclays CEO Jes Stately regards a move towards cryptocurrency as a “real challenge.” UK media outlet, Financial News, reports that the comments were made in response to shareholders’ questions, during the banks annual meeting. He commented:

“…on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance… On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”

It is exactly these activities the governments around the world are currently legislating against in order to make the cryptocurrency space both safe and fit for purpose. Stately says that the bank is looking into cryptocurrency related business, but sees the regulatory and compliance issues as something which needs addressing.

Other major banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have expresses concerns and strong views in the past and have often been scathing about bitcoin and other digital currencies. There are, however, ex-bank executives moving towards the new financial ktechnology.  Ex-chief of JPMorgan’s global energy trading desk, Daniel Masters, has recently suggested that cryptocurrencies could no longer be ignored by central banks and governments, adding that both the story and the technology is there and it is “convincing.”

Image Courtesy:  https://pixabay.com/en/bank-money-finance-shares-save-2907728/  James Qube

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JPMorgan Chase Faces $1 Million Class Action Over Crypto Fees

A lawsuit has been filed on JPMorgan Chase and Co in a Manhattan Federal court accusing the bank of overcharging clients who purchased cryptocurrencies using their credit cards.

In January, JPMorgan Chase prohibited the buying of cryptocurrencies using credit cards and levied extra charges, treating the purchases as cash advances.

Customer and Idaho resident Brady Tucker has filed a suit against the investment banker for overcharging him for fees and interest for two payments of USD 143.30 and USD 20.61 for cryptocurrency transactions. It suggests that possibly thousands of other customers have also been overcharged. The investor bought USD 2,301 worth of cryptocurrencies between 15 January and 2 February and maintains that he called Chase’s customer service line to dispute the charges but the bank refused to move them.

A spokesperson for the bank, Mary Jane Rodgers, wouldn’t comment on the lawsuit but pointed out that the reason for halting credit card crypto purchases was due to credit risk.  JPMorgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has previously called cryptocurrency a “fraud”, saying that he’d fire any employee “stupid” enough to trade in it.

Attorneys for Tucker, Finkelstein & Krinsk LLP, a San Diego-based law firm, suggest that customers did not receive fair notice regarding the banks proposed changes, incurring “millions of dollars of cash advance fees and sky-high interest charges on each and every crypto purchase”.

The lawyers are seeking the fees returned and damages “in an aggregate amount of USD 1 million” in a class action hearing. Although the size of the class has yet to be established, it could be as many of “hundreds or thousands of members”. They accuse JPMorgan Chase of violating the US Truth in Lending Act, which requires credit card issuers to notify customers of significant changes in terms.

Several banks in the US and UK, including Lloyds Banking Group Plc, Virgin Money and Citigroup banned the use of credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies earlier this year after Bitcoin plunged from about USD 20,000 to USD 13,000.

 

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