A JP Morgan Chase executive has put forth an interesting compromise between cryptocurrency and the banking framework–two industries that have long been put at odds.
Speaking in an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Mar. 20, JP Morgan’s Global Head of eCommerce Solutions Ron Karpovich made the claim that there is “more partnership instead of competition” between existing financial establishments and what has often been viewed as a banking disruptive market in cryptocurrency.
Karpovich’s comments for collaboration between the two industries comes just a month after his bank announced the development of the JPM Coin, a blockchain-based stablecoin that will function on J.P. Morgan’s internal payment network for clients. While some analysts at the time made the comparison to the role of XRP in Ripple’s payment protocol, Binance Research subsequently dispelled that notion. Instead, Binance’s team pointed out that JPM Coin will be limited in scope and more than likely only available for the use of JP Morgan clients as opposed to inter-bank operability.
Nonetheless, Karpovich’s comments appear to give an indication of reaching across the aisle, with the executive contending that blockchain-based payments will increase the utility of JP Morgan transfers. However, he also goes on to claim that cryptocurrency innovators and entrepreneurs should avoid shunning the banking industry all together, and that they will have to rely upon banks to move funds.
Karpovich told CNBC,
“Ultimately behind the scenes, they [crypto innovators] are going to have to use a bank to move funds. There’s more partnership instead of competition in that space. When it comes to margins and capabilities — payments is never something that grows in margin, nobody wants to pay for a payment. That’s one of the hardest parts of this process: you have limited resources in the capability to sell, so you need highly efficient and large players.”
The JP Morgan executive stressed the need for more efficient and cost-effective payments as the primary driver for innovation in the space of both banking fintech and blockchain-based cryptocurrencies. However, Karpovich finds blockchain somewhat poised to fade into the back-end of technology, as opposed to achieving mainstream adoption by forward-facing cryptocurrencies.
In the case of the JPM Coin, blockchain makes up a component of the technology that will ultimately be used by clients without them directly engaging in the process, as some believe will propel the adoption of cryptocurrency.
Karpovich also dispelled the idea that JP Morgan had contradicted its stance on crypto with the development of the JPM Coin, particularly given anti-Bitcoin comments from the bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon,
“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. We look at the technology as being a means to doing things faster and cheaper: every CEO would like to make things faster and cheaper. So from that standpoint I think it represents a buy into the concept of using blockchain.”
Overall, Karpovich remains positive on the development of blockchain and blockchain-based payments as a field of interest for banks to develop upon.
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