Behind the JPM Coin hotspot: JPMorgan Chase is quietly playing the next big game

Article points:

  • In the past six months, JPMorgan’s technical team has been working to update the Quorum blockchain platform to replace the key components that Quorum used to enhance privacy.
  • JPMorgan Chase's series of actions in the blockchain field (such as JP Morgan Chase recently announced a partnership with Microsoft's Azure) is designed to allow more companies to use Quorum.
  • Oli Harris, director of JPMorgan's Quorum platform, said the bank's collaboration with Microsoft was the first step in Quorum's spin-off from the company.
  • In an interview with CoinDesk, Harris also talked about the bank's cryptocurrency prototype, the potential application of JPM Coin.

Sky_Lobby_in_JPMorgan_Chase_Tower,_Houston,_Texas_(15654308084) (Source: Wikipedia )

JPMorgan Chase has quietly replaced the core layer of the Quorum blockchain. Oli Harris, head of Quorum and cryptocurrency asset strategy, said that in the past six months, JPMorgan Chase's technicians in London, Singapore and the US "restarted" the Quorum project.

The team used Tessera to replace the privacy layer Constellation written by Quorum in the Haskell computer language. Although Tessera has a similar design to Constelaation, the former is built in Java and is therefore more convenient for enterprise use and deployment.

When JPM Coin became the headline news of major media, Quorum was in full swing. For Morgan Morgan, Quorum's privacy architecture is as important as JPM Coin's cryptocurrency prototype.

Just as JP Morgan Chase announced last week that it is working with Microsoft's Azure blockchain service, the purpose of restarting Quorum is to get more companies to use it. Conversely, cooperation between the two large companies can further expand the platform's appeal, which will help Quorum prepare for the business outside the bank. Since the beginning of 2018, JPMorgan Chase has been considering splitting the project.

In an interview with CoinDesk, Harris specifically mentioned the cooperation between JP Morgan and Microsoft:

I think this is a springboard for JPMorgan Chase to split Quorum. Quorum is open source software on Github and is maintained by JP Morgan Chase. The more users Quorum has, the more value it generates for users, because we can help standardize and create more efficient technology suites.

JPMorgan Chase and Microsoft work together to help Quorum

Originally launched in early 2017, Quorum allows JPMorgan to connect directly to the Ethereum blockchain (although it is a private version) and adds strong privacy protection to the blockchain through Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKPs).

But the departure of Amber Baldet, the former head of the blockchain project, in April 2018 casts a shadow over Quorum's future. People are skeptical about whether JPMorgan Chase can maintain its role as a maintainer of open source projects running emerging technologies. But for now, these concerns are obviously not a problem.

Harris said that the cooperation between JP Morgan and Microsoft "can make Quorum attract more new customers (supporting market entry strategies)", while engineers at the two companies are currently working together to simplify the deployment of Quorum nodes. This is "in order to allow JP Morgan to truly focus on business applications and unlock value from technology, and Microsoft-powered Quorum will be able to handle a lot of heavy work."

Harris further said that with an easy-to-apply, modular privacy solution "menu", users now have the option to deploy a consensus mechanism with Quorum (Istanbul, Raft, etc.). For this reason, JPMorgan Chase is considering a variety of privacy technologies, especially Aztec, which uses a more valid zero-knowledge proof (called scope proof) and focuses on narrowing the gap between public and private chains. difference.

JPM Coin

Today, Quorum runs many very creative projects, such as the energy commodity trading platform Vact; the trade finance blockchain Komgo; and the aura system for the luxury brand group LVMA. The JPM Coin, which was particularly popular in the past, is essentially the cash on the Quorum ledger.

In addition, JPMorgan Chase has attracted about 220 banks to join its interbank information network. The interbank information network has further eliminated the painful problem of information dissemination within foreign correspondent banks by using Qurum.

However, there may be informational cross-interference between JPMorgan's internal projects and applications on Quorum. For example, when and where JPM Coin will begin to settle the cash portion of a securities transaction, or how it will be used for interbank payments, and so on.

Harris was responsible for JP Morgan's financial technology and InResidence incubator projects. He said that part of his work is "to observe the entire ecosystem as a whole" and to determine which Quorum-based projects can be mixed and enabled within JP Morgan Chase.

He said:

You can think of JPM Coin as a legalized currency. It has the world's largest banks and a whole set of discipline, rigorous systems, legal and compliance support. I think you will see many JPM Coin use cases.

Harris specifically mentioned Dromaius, a Quorum-based bond issuance platform launched last year by Christine Moy, head of the DBC's Center of Excellence for Blockchain.

He said:

I think Dromaius is a very good project. Blockchain technology can surprise you if you issue debt on the blockchain and want to exchange cash on the same chain. Because you don't have to deal with assets in the traditional way, you can do different asset processing on the same chain. Similarly, you can also exchange currency at the same time on the same chain, or pass any legal currency.

Development towards cloud services

The combination of blockchain and cloud computing, the so-called Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), has become a competitive area. Amazon Web Services recently announced its hosted blockchain service, and IBM is launching the cloud platform Bluemix while launching the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain.

Harris said that Quorum will become a multi-cloud platform, which is not unique to Azure (most Quorum customers will still choose Azure's cloud services because Azure has a higher level of integration). This technology can be supported by banks and all public cloud providers.

Harris believes that cloud computing provides a good example of blockchain. The development process in the field of cloud computing allowed Harris to envision the evolution of licensed sub-ledgers, public chains, and interoperability between them.

His prediction is that "mesh of blockchain" will coexist in different use cases, and the company will decide which mode they use to solve some specific problems:

I don't think this will be a situation of one or the other. We are just waiting for people to solve some key technical problems. If the public chain Ethereum has a good performance, then people will turn their attention to the public chain project. .

Harris pointed out that JPMorgan Chase has the responsibility to further establish standards, specifications and interoperability. This is reflected in Quorum's commitment to the Ethereum Business Alliance, which has been reflected in the recent Microsoft-led census taxonomy program.

He concluded at the end:

All of this is related to the network effect. We think Quorum is an evolving technology suite. Fortunately, it has a foothold in Ethereum and large enterprises, and JP Morgan and Microsoft will work together to push it further.