JPMorgan Continues to Explore Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments Having Signed 220 Banks WorldwidenAlong the Way

JPMorgan Continues to Explore Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments, Having Signed 220 Banks WorldwidenAlong the Way


On April 21, it was revealed that JPMorgan Chase (JPM),

the United States’ largest bank with over $2.62 trillion in assets, is planning to widen the use of its blockchain system. Specifically, JPM is adding new features to its Interbank Information Network (IIN), which is now used by more than 220 banks across the globe. With the JPM Coin launched earlier this year, it seems that the U.S. financial institution is increasingly betting on blockchain, pushing crypto closer to mainstream adoption.

Brief intro to JPM and crypto: the “Blockchain before Bitcoin” approach

JPM has been maintaining an overall mixed stance on virtual currencies. Its CEO, Jamie Dimon, is perhaps best known among crypto enthusiasts for his harsh comments regarding bitcoin. In 2017, Dimon openly called bitcoin a “fraud.” A year later, the banking giant’s CEO reterierted his position by saying that he doesn’t “really give a s—” about the cryptocurrency. Lately, however, he has taken a somewhat softer approach toward bitcoin: At the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, when the JPMorgan Chase head was asked if he took any satisfaction when the cryptocurrency collapsed last year, he replied that he did not.

However, despite his unmasked criticism aimed at the world’s largest cryptocurrency, Dimon has been much more careful when discussing the technology that underpins it. Back in 2015, he first shared his thoughts on the subject, stating that “blockchain is like any other technology,”

but then also clarifying:

“If it is cheaper, effective, works, and secure, then we are going to use it. The technology will be used, and it could be used to transport currency, but it will be dollars, not bitcoins.”

At the latest Davos gathering, Dimon voiced his updated, more optimistic opinion on blockchain. Specifically, the JPM CEO noted that he is pro-blockchain, despite the excessive hype around the technology, and that the technology serves as a better replacement for certain

online databases:

“Blockchain is a real technology — it’s just a database we can all access that’s kept up-to-date.”

Indeed, JPM’s experiments with blockchain date back to 2016, when the banking behemoth published a white paper for Quorum, its private blockchain platform built on the Ethereum protocol. Quorum was created as part of the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA), of which JPM is one of the founding partners. As mentioned above, the platform runs on the Ethereum blockchain and is modeled after the Ethereum Go client. It has been adopted by pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Genentech as well as Microsoft Azure, among others. It has also been tested with a number of high-profile players, including National Bank of Canada and Goldman Sachs Asset Management. In March 2019, JPMorgan Chase announced that it was considering making Quorum an independent entity in a bid to attract more partners that could be reluctant to deal with JPM directly if they are competitors of the bank.

IIN: the ever-growing, blockchain-powered international network of banks

The IIN, in turn, is JPM’s peer-to-peer network powered by Quorum. Launched as a pilot back in 2017, it aims to deal with issues of interbank information sharing, “from minimizing friction in the cross-border payments process to enabling payments to reach beneficiaries faster and with fewer steps,” as per the company’s website. Suresh Shetty, blockchain technology lead for IIN,


"Historically, correspondent banks communicate one-way, bank-to-bank, but we have transformed their interaction. When a payment detail is flagged for confirmation, different parties can interact simultaneously, requesting and sharing information."

As of March 2019, more than 220 banks worldwide have signed up as members of the IIN, including banking powerhouses such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Crédit Agricole — the world’s largest cooperative bank by turnover — and Banco Santander. The network is expanding at a swift pace: More than 60 banks joined it just within the past few months, given that the IIN consisted of 157 member banks as of January this year. However, just like with Quorum, some financial institutions might be hesitant to join a JPM-supervised venture, according to Hartej Sawhney, a blockchain expert and co-founder of Hosho, a company protecting investments and providing multiple smart contract services.

He told Cointelegraph:

“IIN is not a competitor to Ripple unless it begins to sweep all the banks in the world onto their network, which could be difficult for JPM given their historical reputation. Ripple, Circle, and Transferwises advantage may be that they are third-party intermediaries, not banks themselves.”

However, the main priority for the INN is not to facilitate cross-border payments with stablecoins or its own cryptocurrency (which is what Ripple is actively trying to achieve with its similarly sized RippleNet), but rather to tackle the current system’s downsides with a blockchain-powered solution. “Broadly speaking, the cross-border payments system works quite well. Attempts to construct some new way of transacting on blockchain look to us like a solution in search of a problem,” Sungmahn Seo, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa payments and foeign exchange at JPMorgan Chase, told Euromoney in October 2018, outlining the INN’s

primary goal:

“However, when a cross-border payment does get stuck for whatever reason, that can get quite painful. It can be difficult and can take weeks to resolve. We want to make resolving stuck payments much simpler and much easier, and that is about easing access for the right parties to the right information.”

According to Seo, the U.S. banking giant receives 100,000 to 200,000 enquiries regarding stuck payments every year, and most of them are international. He described the hurdle it entails for banks

in greater detail:

"There can be many steps between multiple correspondent banks in sending a payment from the US to China, for example. And when a query pops up, the question becomes: which bank has the full and complete information? Banks start sending emails but some banks don’t like to respond that way because email may be insecure. So, then it’s phone calls between banks in very different time zones. The query can start ping-ponging around. When it gets painful, it gets really painful. A payment that should have taken minutes can take many days to complete as requests for information ping-pong between the banks.”

Thus, instead of handling cross-border payments like Ripple-created XRP and other SWIFT-killers that aim to overtake the conventional money transferring structure and put it on blockchain rails, the IIN is merely an encrypted distributed ledger network that allows participants to identify themselves and share information necessary for sending money — and not necessarily large amounts — to each other. Notably, neither Ripple nor the IIN and has revealed publicly exactly how their systems work, Eyal Shani, blockchain researcher at Aykesubir, pointed out in a conversation with Cointelegraph.

Now, some new crucial features are being added to the ever-growing network. As John Hunter, JPM’s head of global clearing, told the Financial Times, the IIN members will be able to instantly verify whether a payment is heading to a valid bank account — as per the new update, scheduled to go live by the third quarter of 2019. At present, transactions can be rejected days after they were sent because of incorrect information, such as typos in sort codes, account numbers and addresses. Hunter told the

Financial Times:

“Banks straight through processing rates are in the mid-80s to mid-90s. It’s that gap — the 5 to 20 percent of payments — that have to be assessed by operations where we’re trying to alleviate some of that pain.”

Eyal Shani believes that the use of smart contracts and blockchain will indeed allow the IIN to minimize the number of

such errors:

“By tokenizing the system and enabling the use of modern smart contract and flexible coding, the IIN could solve better and faster compliance problems and other payment errors. The negative feedback regarding the centralization of the coin is irrelevant at this point of maturity of blockchain.”

Indeed, JPMorgan Chase also seems to recognize that, in its current form, blockchain is still far from reaching its full potential. The bank’s chair of global research, Joyce Chang, told Bloomberg

earlier in January:

“Blockchain isn’t going to reinvent the global payment system, but it will provide marginal improvements. The most meaningful impact will probably be three to five years away and mostly on trade finance.”

Notably, the Financial Times report also revealed that JPM is planning to attract more fintech startups to work with the IIN network’s structure. Such firms will be able to develop applications in a specially designated sandbox in which they can gain access to data modeling, file transfers and secure messaging — as Hunter explained to the newspaper, “developers only need to bring their intellect.” On top of that, paid subscriptions might reportedly be introduced for the IIN members in the future, which also implies that JPMorgan is counting on its blockchain-powered network in the long term.

Thus, although the banking giant’s other recent crypto project, JPM Coin, was received quite poorly by the community, part of which deemed that JPM Coin is not a cryptocurrency at all, JPMorgan continues to explore the field of blockchain — and given the large amount of bank who have co-signed its project, the U.S. financial titan might be headed in the right direction.

Article Produced By
Stephen O'Neal

Stephen O'Neal is a Sociology major from Leeds. He's passionate about crypto and all the stuff you can spend it on.



Report: Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin

Samsung Planning New Blockchain Mainnet Featuring Samsung Coin


South Korean electronics giant Samsung

may end up developing a public-private blockchain complete with its own cryptocurrency token, an anonymous source told crypto industry news outlet CoinDesk Korea on April 24. The project, part of an undertaking by the company’s dedicated blockchain division, would see a blockchain mainnet appear based on Ethereum (ETH), along with a new asset dubbed Samsung Coin.

“We expect Samsung Coin to come out in the market, but the direction has not yet been decided,” the source, who is in touch with the plans, told the publication. The news, while not confirmed officially, comes as Samsung continues its various forays into both the blockchain and cryptocurrency spheres. Last week, the company gave a fresh signal about its belief in the long-term profitability of the emerging phenomena as it participated in a $4 million investment round in smartphone-based wallet app ZenGo.

Samsung’s existing enterprise blockchain offering, Nexledger, also continues to see uptake from entities worldwide, most recent of which came in the form of Indian IT giant Mahindra. The ETH-based offering would meanwhile likely incorporate elements of both public and private blockchains, with exact details similarly still forthcoming. “Currently, we are thinking of private blockchain, though it is not yet confirmed,” the source added.

The source continued:

“It could also be public blockchain in the future, but I think it will be hybrid – that is, a combination of public and private blockchains.”

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

El Toro Blockchain Division Launches Crypto Exchange for Pro Traders Issues 8 Stablecoins

El Toro Blockchain Division Launches Crypto Exchange for Pro Traders, Issues 8 Stablecoins

The blockchain division of global social trading platform eToro

has launched a cryptocurrency exchange for pro traders, a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Tuesday, April 16, states. EToroX claims to be a secure a secure and fully regulated trading venue. As for now, the platform offers 37 trading pairs, with the ability to convert six cryptocurrencies to fiat, such as the dollar, euro and Swiss franc.

The exchange currently allows users to trade bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), ripple (XRP), dash (DASH), bitcoin cash (BCH) and litecoin (LTC). According to the managing director of eToroX, Doron Rosenblum, the exchange will launch more pairs in coming months.

Moreover, eToroX has launched eight stablecoins that are backed by the New Zealand dollar (NZDX), Japanese yen (JPYX), Swiss franc (CHFX), United States dollar (USDEX), euro (EURX), U.K. pound sterling (GBPX), Australian dollar (AUDX), and Canadian dollar (CADX). The stablecoins will be issued and controlled by eToroX. Co-founder and CEO of eToro, Yoni Assia, said that the platform is set to bring crypto to a

larger range of investors:

“We want to bring crypto and tokenized assets to a wider audience, allowing them to trade with confidence. This is the future of finance. Blockchain will eventually 'eat' traditional financial services through tokenization.”

Assia believes that financial services will eventually be transferred to blockchain, as the tech brings a new paradigm for asset ownership. According to him, traditional asset classes such as art and property will also be tokenized.

In March, eToro officially launched its platform and crypto asset wallet in the U.S. Later the same month, the company announced that it has acquired smart contracts development company Firmo in order to explore and add more tokenized assets. In other stablecoin news, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsquare has recently announced that it will be launching a Canadian dollar-backed stablecoin. Meanwhile, billionaire VC investor Tim Draper is reportedly planning to meet with Facebook execs to discuss investing in the social media outlet’s rumored FB Coin.

Article Produced By
Ana Berman

Moved by her interest to discover the world of decentralized technologies, Ana joined Cointelegraph in June 2018. Shortly after joining the team as a news writer, she focused on the major crypto stories from Latin America

Binance Chain Launches Firm Expects to Execute Mainnet Swap on April 23

Binance Chain Launches, Firm Expects to Execute Mainnet Swap on April 23


Binance has launched its mainnet Binance Chain

and expects to execute the swap of its native token Binance Coin (BNB) on April 23, according to an announcement on April 18. The major crypto exchange first revealed its plans to launch its own blockchain in December 2018, intending to build a basis for issuing new cryptocurrencies and initial coin offering tokens.

According to the announcement, Binance is producing blocks with consensus from the genesis block as of today, with its native coin BNB planned to be issued in the genesis block. Binance Chain Explorer and Web Wallet will be available to selected partners in beta testing mode and are expected to be opened to public access “around April 23, 2019,” the announcement notes. Along with the launch of Binance Chain, the exchange provided details for the conversion of ERC-20 BNB tokens into native Binance Chain-based BNB (BEP2) coins. As such, Binance emphasized it will not support the withdrawal of ERC-20 BNB tokens after April 23.

Specifically, Binance will be releasing more BEP2 coins as more users convert their ERC-20 BNB to its native BEP2 BNB, while the proportional amounts of ERC20 BNB will be burned while “keeping the total supply across both networks constant.” The exchange will not list any initial trading pairs until the conversion of the first batch of BNB has occurred, the statement reads.

Binance is currently the third largest crypto exchange by adjusted daily trading volume. As recently reported, Binance’s Q1 2019 profits surged 66% compared to the previous quarter. According to another report, Binance saw $78 million in Q1 profits due to a massive growth in its over-the-counter trading platform. Recently, Binance’s charity arm launched a crypto donation channel to support the reconstruction of the Notre Dame cathedral.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

US Gov’t Blockchain Spending Expected to Increase 1000 Between 2017-2022: Study

US Gov’t Blockchain Spending Expected to Increase 1,000% Between 2017-2022: Study


The United States federal government is expected to raise its blockchain spending

to $123.5 million by 2022 — an over 1,000% increase as compared with the $10.7 million it spent in 2017. The forecast was made in a report from IDC Government Insights, published on April 18. IDC states that blockchain spending among state and local governments is also anticipated to grow, from $4.4 million in 2017 to $48.2 million in 2022 — similarly an almost 1,000% rise.

Federal civilian agencies — who reportedly spent less than $20 million on the technology in 2017 — are likely to spend over $80 million by 2022, the report continues. The Defense Department — which likewise spent less than $20 million in 2017 — could almost double this figure and hit $40 million by 2022, the IDC claims. Government investment in blockchain technology is likely to evolve and expand to include more complex areas over time, the IDC’s research director

Shawn McCarthy outlined:

"We believe asset management, identity management, and smart contracts will be the leading blockchain solutions for government. Early spending will focus on supply chain and asset management solutions, while spending in later years will expand to include more identity management and complex financial transactions."

IDC also notes that blockchain is likely to become a cornerstone technology for trade legislation, and is likely “to be implemented as a standard feature for some types of authorized international trade and also as a standard for many types of government procurement.” In terms of specific implementations of the technology, the report argues that a hybrid blockchain approach — combining aspects of private and public networks — is likely to prove the most popular among government agencies.

As reported last month, the current Republican Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives has recently argued that blockchain should be implemented to improve the transparency of the legislative process and bring more security and accountability to government. A separate IDC report from 2018 forecasted that worldwide blockchain spending would grow to $9.7 billion in 2021.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

Major Auditing Firm Ernst amp Young Releases Updates to Two Blockchain-Related Products

Major Auditing Firm Ernst & Young Releases Updates to Two Blockchain-Related Products


Big Four auditing firm Ernst & Young (EY)

has released two new blockchain developments, a new version of its Blockchain Analyzer and a zero knowledge proof protocol. The company revealed the products in two separate press releases on April 16. EY has launched the second generation of its analytics tool EY Blockchain Analyzer. While the first generation of the product was available to only EY audit teams facilitating gathering companies’ entire transaction data from multiple blockchain ledgers, the upgrade made the analyzer accessible for EY teams and non-audit customers as a business application. Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader for blockchain, said that the company intends to build a platform solution that can be deployed for various purposes, including audit, tax and transaction monitoring. The new version of the analyzer will support tax calculation for crypto assets from the Andy Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (AndyCAAT) tool that automatically calculates capital gains and losses on transactions in compliance with United States tax law.

As for EY’s zero knowledge proof protocol, the company aims to facilitate the adoption of secure, private transactions over public blockchains. Paul Brody, EY Global Innovation Leader, Blockchain, said that “making public blockchains secure and scalable is a priority for EY. The fastest way to spread this privacy-enhancing technology was to make it public.” “The main component allows for secure, private transfers and payments on the public Ethereum network. This supports fungible token payments compatible with the ERC-20 standard and unique asset transfers compatible with the ERC-721 standard.  The ERC standards are publicly accepted open standards for tokens on the Ethereum blockchain,” the release explains.

EY also notes that since the launch of the initial prototype in 2018, the company has managed to  significantly reduce transaction processing costs by more than 90%. Currently, the software code is reportedly undergoing final reviews and is scheduled to be launched into the public domain in the next four to six weeks. In March, EY launched a tool called EY Crypto-Asset Accounting and Tax (CAAT) designed for accounting and preparing taxes on cryptocurrency holdings. The product can reportedly get information about cryptocurrency transactions from “virtually all” major exchanges, consolidate data from various sources, and automatically produce reports, including cryptocurrency-related U.S. Internal Revenue Service tax returns.

Article Produced By
Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

Nestl Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain

Nestlé, Carrefour Work With IBM to Track Mashed Potato Brand With Blockchain


Switzerland-based food giant Nestlé, French supermarket chain

Carrefour and IBM have partnered to use the latter’s blockchain technology to track a famous French convenience food, the companies announced in a press release on April 15. Nestlé and Carrefour, both of which are members of IBM’s Food Trust blockchain platform, will use the technology from today to track the supply chain of Mousline, a well-known brand of instant mashed potatoes. Once it rolls out, shoppers will be able to scan a QR code with their smartphones to know exactly where the potatoes in a specific packet came from, as well as their journey to the specific Carrefour store.

“Using the QR code on the product’s packaging, each consumer will be able to use a secure platform on their smartphone to access information on the production supply chain, including the varieties of potato used, the dates and places of manufacture, information on quality control, and places and dates of storage before the product reaches the shelves,” the press release confirms.

The announcement comes just days after United States supermarket chain Albertsons said it was using Food Trust to track one of its products — iceberg lettuce — with the potential for more to follow. Worldwide, around five million different food items already employ blockchain in their supply chain in some form as the industry niche grows. “This partnership is based on the shared values of each company to bring consumers greater transparency in the food sector,” Carrefour continued in the press release.

The firm added:

“By simply scanning a product using a smartphone, consumers will receive reliable and unfalsifiable information on the supply chain and production.”

As Cointelegraph reported, Carrefour has itself stepped up blockchain integration in recent months by applying the technology for tracking milk.

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.

VR Firm Magic Leap Seeks Blockchain Engineers for User Data

VR Firm Magic Leap Seeks Blockchain Engineers for User Data


Virtual reality (VR) startup Magic Leap is seeking blockchain engineers

according to recent listings on employment website Greenhouse. The firm is looking for a senior blockchain architect and blockchain engineers. Among the duties listed for the senior blockchain architect position, the individual will be “planning and execution of a portfolio of blockchain, smart contract, and Ricardian contract technologies in support of the implementation of our Lifestream business function.”

In a recent interview with VR industry publication UploadVR, Magic Leap CEO Rony Abovitz said that Lifestream is: “all the data that you experience and the data of the world around you and how that needs to be protected…” At a conference last October, he noted the importance of protecting the data set, which he characterized as critical.

The job listing seeks an individual with experience in the Red Belly and Hyperledger blockchain frameworks and experience with Java, Node,js, Python or Go. Magic Leap also prefers that the engineer has experience writing smart contracts for blockchain networks like Hyperledger Fabric, Hyperledger  Sawtooth, Ethereum and Corda. Magic Leap has grown significantly since its inception in 2010. Crunchbase reported last year that the firm is the top-funded VR startup on the market, having aggregated 41% of VC funding in the VR market worldwide in 2018.  

Earlier this month, Ethereum-based digital asset tokenization startup Enjin announced that it will launch a Software Development Kit for the Unity game engine, which supports VR and augmented reality app development.

Article Produced By
Aaron Wood

Aaron Wood is an editor at Cointelegraph, with a background in energy and economics. He keeps an eye on Blockchain's applications in building smarter and more equitable energy access globally.

Tata Consultancy Services Powers Blockchain-Based Cross-Border Securities Settlement

Tata Consultancy Services Powers Blockchain-Based Cross-Border Securities Settlement


Indian IT services company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS)

announced on April 10 that it carried out what it defines as the world's first cross-border securities settlement between two central depositories using the Quartz blockchain. The Central Securities Depositories (CSD) involved are reportedly Maroclear, the CSD of Morocco, and Kuwait Clearing Company, the CSD of Kuwait. During the test, a set of equities and fixed income securities from both markets were created on the chain along with accounts to hold them, and were instantaneously transferred.

The system reportedly used cash coins on the BaNCS Network, powered by the Quartz blockchain. The announcement explains that cash coins are a digital asset pegged to a fiat currency and maintained on the network. Per the report, the network is a private permissioned blockchain aimed to let customers in the banking, market infrastructure, custody and insurance industries collaborate by connecting to a single ledger. The post claims that 450 TCS customers have access to the BaNCS network. According to CrunchBase data, TCS has $15.4 billion in revenue annually; its parent company, Tata Group, reportedly has $100.4 billion.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the Mauritius Financial Services Commission has issued a second guidance note concerning security token offering regulation. Also, at the beginning of the current month, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission revealed that it is looking to hire a crypto specialist attorney advisor for its Division of Trading and Markets tasked with establishing “a comprehensive plan to address crypto and digital asset securities.”

Article Produced By
Adrian Zmudzinski

Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.


Japanese Regulator FSA Hears Arguments for not Calling Bitcoin a Virtual Currency

Japanese Regulator FSA Hears Arguments for not Calling Bitcoin a Virtual Currency


Japanese finance regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA)

no longer wishes to describe Bitcoin (BTC) as a virtual currency, Cointelegraph Japan reported on April 8, quoting minutes of a meeting originally held on March 4. During a plenary session at the 41st General Assembly of the Financial Council and the 29th Financial Division Meeting, Professor Iwashita Goto of the Public Policy Graduate School of Kyoto University, petitioned members to adapt their view of Bitcoin.

The largest cryptocurrency, he argued, has become something beyond a means of transacting, due to its borderless qualities, which have led it to appear throughout the world in its ten-year history. “I don't think it would be worthwhile to call Bitcoin a virtual currency,” he summarized. The comments come as Japan continues to formalize its domestic cryptocurrency industry. Set on creating encouraging regulation, the FSA has now begun issuing licenses to new cryptocurrency exchanges looking to serve the Japanese market.

The licensing scheme, which has a long waiting list, was in part a reaction to the events of the past two years, notably local exchange Coincheck’s half-billion-dollar hack in January 2018. Other industry consumer products also continue to see a rollout in the country, such as plans for train travel payment using cryptocurrency. Last week, Japanese trading platform Liquid achieved unicorn status after it was valued at more than $1 billion.

Article Produced By
William Suberg

William Suberg got into Bitcoin while completing his Masters degree and hasn't looked back since, writing about anything crypto-related which makes him sit up and pay attention. He started working with Cointelegraph in October 2013.