It’s Official: JPMorgan’s CIB Is Now Working on Its Own ‘Crypto Strategy’
JPMorgan’s evolution of sentiment regarding cryptocurrencies has been an interesting one, to say the least. After the banking powerhouse’s CEO Jamie Dimon said he’d fire any employee who traded bitcoin last year, the institution’s just tapped young in-house fintech exec Oliver Harris to develop JPMorgan’s crypto strategy going forward.
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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Formerly the leader of JPMorgan’s Fintech and In-Residence initiative, the 29-year-old Oliver Harris will now be the architect of cryptocurrency strategies for the institution’s Corporate & Investment Bank (CIB).
Harris is reportedly tasked with identifying how that arm of JPMorgan could best implement the use of crypto in its banking activities, with his new immediate boss being Umar Farooq — blockchain initiative director at CIB. Moreover, Harris will be tasked with managing development around JPMorgan’s native Quorum blockchain.
The move is certainly a far cry from the idea of dealing in cryptocurrencies as being “stupid.”
JPMorgan, one of America’s four largest banks and having roots going back to the 19th century, generated revenue upwards of $99 billion USD in 2017 alone. If they’re developing a crypto strategy now, it stands to reason that many other U.S. banks will soon be doing the same.
Has the Rat Race Begun?
JPMorgan’s re-shifting of Harris is doubly interesting when compared with the fact that Goldman Sachs, too, has just moved in-house talent around to prepare for a forthcoming bitcoin trading desk.
Could we soon be seeing other U.S. banking titans like Citigroup, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo make similar cryptocurrency-centric pivots?
Likely so, it seems, if they don’t want to be playing catch-up with Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan for long.
Lots of Wall Street News Lately
Top American crypto exchange Coinbase just launched a new suite of services for institutional investors. Mike Novogratz and Bloomberg have created the “Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index.” And Brian Kelly just teamed up with REX Shares to launch a cryptocurrency and blockchain-based ETF.
With all these developments in mind, 2018’s shaping up to be the year where Wall Street can literally no longer ignore cryptocurrencies.
Banking the unbanked and the biggest banks and everyone in between in the not so distant future? We’ll all have to wait and see.
What’s your take? Do you think Wall Street’s finally realized what they’re missing out on? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Oliver Harris, The Nation