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JPMorgan Appoints Head of Cryptocurrency Strategy, Quorum Blockchain

J.P. Morgan headquarters glass facade

On Thursday, we learnt of yet another example of institutional money expressing a willingness to explore the value proposition underpinning cryptoassets, blockchain technology, and other distributed ledger technologies.

Indeed, this time it came courtesy of J.P. Morgan, with 29-year-old Oli Harris having recently been appointed by Umar Farooq (Head of Blockchain Initiatives, J.P. Morgan) to head the investment banking giant’s cryptocurrency strategy and Quorum.

Harris has been at J.P. Morgan since January 2014. Prior to his new position as head of crypto-assets strategy and Quorum, he served for three years as the head of FinTech and In-Residence. Preceding this was a year and a half of working for the strategy and new business development.

Quorum Query

For those unaware, J.P. Morgan’s Quorum is a major enterprise-oriented blockchain platform. It’s an open source fork of the Ethereum network; designed for those enterprises requiring privacy, permissioning and performance.

Companies from various industries are already using Quorum. And, being such an integral part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the developer base looks all but certain to continue growing.

Change of Tone

Making Harris’ appointment more momentous than what it otherwise would have been is the fact that not nine months ago, Jamie Dimon (CEO & Chairman, J.P. Morgan) infamously condemned Bitcoin (BTC) when speaking at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference.

Here, Dimon described the pioneering cryptocurrency as “stupid” and “dangerous,” before going on to warn that should any J.P. Morgan staff decide to trade BTC, he would “fire them in a second.”

Two Ex-J.P. Morgan Blockchain Staff Launch Crypto Startup

Although Dimon slightly backtracked in January when he revealed that, should cryptocurrencies be “properly controlled and regulated,” he’d remain “open-minded” about them, it appears his strong, initial negative remarks have proven difficult to undo.

Indeed, it may very well have prompted the April resignations of both Amber Baldet (Ex-Blockchain Program Lead, J.P. Morgan) and Patrick Mylund Nielson (Ex-Lead Developer, Quorum). Earlier this week, the Baldet and Nielson unveiled Clovyr; a startup they co-founded which aims to help consumers, developers, and businesses explore the universe of blockchain-based decentralized technologies.

Notably, Baldet’s former position as the blockchain lead was filled last week by J.P. Morgan stalwart, Christine Moy.

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