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JPMorgan Trial Puts Debt Issuance on a Blockchain

JPMorgan Chase has partnered with National Bank of Canada and other major firms to trial a blockchain platform aimed to improve the debt issuance process.

As reported by Reuters, the investment bank said in a statement Friday that trial, which took place on on Wednesday, mirrored a $150 million offering the same day by the the National Bank of Canada of a one-year floating-rate Yankee certificate of deposit.

The trial also saw participation from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Pfizer, Legg Mason Inc’s Western Asset and others.

David Furlong, senior vice president of blockchain at National Bank of Canada, said in a statement that blockchain technology “has the potential to bring about major change in the financial services industry.”

Based on JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain, the debt-issuance platform took over an year to build, according to the report.

As reported by CoinDesk in March, JPMorgan is currently mulling spinning off the Quorum project as an independent company.

A spokesperson for the bank declined to comment on what they called “speculation” at the time, but said that “Quorum has become an extremely successful enterprise platform even beyond financial services and we’re excited about its potential.”

However, Umar Farooq, head of blockchain initiatives for JPMorgan’s corporate and investment arm, confirmed the move to Reuters, saying that discussions are in the early stages and the bank has noted interest from financial institutions in the project.

The open-source Quorum blockchain was launched in 2016 as a permissioned version of ethereum.

In October 2017, Quorum notably integrated the zero-knowledge security layer (ZSL) from privacy-focused public blockchain zcash.

The technology obscures all identifiable information about a transaction but still provides the ability to audit those transactions.

JPMorgan image via Shutterstock

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Sweden's Government to Sell Seized Bitcoin in Open Auction

A government agency in Sweden dedicated to debt collection is auctioning off some bitcoin this week.

In a statement, the Kronofogden (known also as the Enforcement Authority) said today that it would sell roughly 0.6 BTC, an amount worth roughly $3,200 at press time. Though the statement didn’t explicitly state the source of the funds, local media reports indicate that the debt was assessed against a local company.

The agency said that it would begin the auction today, which is scheduled to last through next Thursday, and called for interested parties to reach out about participating.

Johannes Paulson, the agency’s operations developer, said in a statement:

“Assets are not just the car on the driveway or the money [in a] bank account. We live in a digital world, and now we are looking for assets in computers and hard drives as well as in telephones and web services.”

With the move, Sweden becomes the latest government to auction off holdings of the cryptocurrency.

The U.S. government, for example, held several auctions of bitcoin it obtained through its investigation of the now-defunct dark market Silk Road. As previously reported, the government has only just taken possession of the proceeds from those auctions following a long legal fight with convicted Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht.

Editor’s Note: Some of the statements in this article have been translated from Swedish.

Auction hammer image via Shutterstock

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