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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