Blythe Masters: ‘Hundreds’ of Blockchain Benefits Will Hit Commodity Supply Chains

Blythe Masters has confirmed her belief that blockchain will shake up commodities.

Former JPMorgan executive Blythe Masters predicts “tens if not hundreds” of blockchain projects will soon increase the efficiency of commodity markets, Bloomberg reports Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Masters, who since leaving the investment banking giant has become CEO of her own software outfit Digital Asset Holdings, said commodity supply chains would greatly benefit from the advent of distributed ledger technology.

“Supply chains are notoriously complex and inefficient,” she told attendees of the invite-only London Metal Exchange (LME) annual dinner, quoted by Bloomberg.

As Cointelegraph has reported, the supply chain aspect of various global industries from shipping to agriculture has formed a focus for blockchain-based solutions involving many major corporations, including most recently Walmart and IBM.

While not everyone shares the opinion that blockchain tech is ready for mainstream implementation, the technology looks set to benefit legacy structures by simplifying bureaucracy, increasing confidentially, and boosting productivity, Blythe noted.

Masters’ Digital Asset Holdings is similarly designing software to aid the sector in blockchain implementation, she said at the LME event, involving banks and investors among other participants trading bonds and assets. Bloomberg notes that the LME market still sets prices via an open-outcry trading ring.

Having taken a proactive role in promoting both Bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain, Masters joined advocacy group the Chamber of Digital Commerce’s board of advisors in 2015.

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JPMorgan Creates and Fills New Position of Head of Crypto Assets Strategy

JPMorgan creates and fills new position of head of crypto assets strategy, post will identify and lead new crypto projects at bank.

Leading US banking group and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase has recently created and filled the new position of head of crypto-assets strategy, Business Insider reported today, May 17.

London-based Oliver Harris, 29, will take the new role, reporting to the head of blockchain development, Umar Farooq. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s internal blockchain project Quorum, which began testing by JP Morgan Chase and the National Bank of Canada last month.

According to Business Insider, Harris will be identifying and leading new crypto projects for the bank, rather than actively trading in cryptocurrencies. He will reportedly investigate crypto custody services and how blockchain could work in JPMorgan’s payments business.  

For the last two years, Harris has been leading JPMorgan’s In Residence program, which identifies and partners with fintech startups that the bank finds promising.

Daniel Pinto, co-president of JPMorgan, has recently taken a positive stance on cryptocurrencies in an interview with CNBC, claiming that the “tokenization” of the financial system is “real”, with “many central banks looking into” it. However, Pinto stressed that crypto adoption is not possible in its “current form”.

In general, the investment banking giant has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan banned its customers from crypto purchases with credit cards back in February, in addition to including cryptocurrencies to the “Risk Factor” section of its 2017 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Last year, JPMorgan’s Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin (BTC) a “fraud” and claimed that he would fire any employee trading BTC on the company’s accounts. Dimon soon reversed his position in January, admitting that he regretted his earlier statements and adopting a lukewarm stance toward crypto. Dimon said he is, “not interested that much in [crypto] at all.”

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Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Releases Client Specifications To Facilitate Interoperability

The EEA’s release of the Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification follows an earlier release of an Architectural Stack, with a testnet and certification program to follow.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has released the Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification 1.0 today, May 16, that will enable interoperability for companies that use Ethereum blockchain-based solutions.

The EEA, which was formed in March 2017 by Santander, JPMorgan, and a variety of other members, now numbers 500 enterprise members. It focuses on improving the privacy, scalability, and security of Ethereum blockchain applications.

At the beginning of May, the EEA’s Enterprise Ethereum Architectural Stack went live, a software stack which standardizes the specifications for business applications based on Ethereum. The next steps for the EEA will be building a testnet to test proofs-of-concept and a revision of the specifications ideally by the end of the year, followed by a launch of an EEA certification program.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, EEA head Ron Resnick, said that the EE Client Specification is “basically the catapult that launches the whole ecosystem”:

“Without interoperability, the big players aren’t going to want to jump in, because they don’t want to be locked in to one particular vendor for a proprietary solution […] It attracts more and more of the bigger players to come in and make a commitment, because they feel a little more safe that they’re not going to get stuck.”

Brian Behlendorf, the executive director of Hyperledger, said that the release of the specifications is “yet one more way in which the Hyperledger and Ethereum communities are not competitors but allies:”

“We’re very happy that the Hyperledger Sawtooth developer community has the goal of EEA 1.0 compatibility.”

Last week, the Blockchain Research Office of China’s IT Ministry announced that they aimed to release nationwide blockchain standards by the end of 2019. When asked about the compatibility of EEA specifications for the ETH blockchain and potential blockchain standards coming from China, Resnick told Cointelegraph that “we would have to come up with a way to partner:”

“At the end of the day, if 500 companies, and now let’s say we double it to 1000, if all the global countries in the world are basing their solutions on Enterprise Ethereum specification, I would suggest that if China is working on something, they would want interoperability […] All we would do is engage with them, we would share. Our spec, we can have it […] I would think that they would probably want to take a look.”

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JPMorgan Co-President Jerry Pinto: Cryptocurrency “Will Play a Role” in Future

Bitcoin futures remain on the radar at JPMorgan, co-president Jerry Pinto has confirmed.

JPMorgan co-president Jerry Pinto confirmed the bank was “looking into” the Bitcoin space May 16, saying cryptocurrency “will play a role” in the future.

Speaking to CNBC over two interviews, Pinto, who could be in line to succeed CEO Jamie Dimon, said that JPMorgan is able to trade Bitcoin futures but has not yet opted to do so.

“We are looking into that space. I have no doubt that in one way or another, the technology will play a role,” he responded when asked about trading Bitcoin-based products.

“If we need to clear futures of bitcoin, can we do it? Yes. Have we done it? No.”

Pinto’s neutral stance continues the investment banking giant’s somewhat mixed signals about Bitcoin in 2018.

Despite banning customers from purchasing cryptocurrency using its credit cards, senior executives – including the once infamously bearish Dimon – have variously spoken out about the beneficial aspects of both Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Pinto, too, sees the future of the economy incorporating aspects which were born with the mainstream entry of cryptocurrency.

“The tokenization of the economy, for me, is real,” he continued.

“Cryptocurrencies are real but not in the current form.”

JPMorgan is working on blockchain integration, Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, filing a patent for real-time p2p interbank transfers using the technology.

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Two Ex-JPMorgan Blockchain Leaders Reveal New Decentralized App Store Startup

Two former JPMorgan blockchain executives have announced their own blockchain-based startup, currently in the process of fundraising.

The Two former leads of JPMorgan’s blockchain program unveiled a new startup, a decentralized app (DApp) store, Fortune reported yesterday, May 14.  

Amber Baldet and Patrick Mylund Nielsen, both of whom held lead positions at JP Morgan’s blockchain platform Quorum, have announced the release of a new startup, Clovyr, where users can browse decentralized apps, developer programs, and distributed ledgers. Clovyr will be compatible with Quorum as well as Ethereum software clients Parity and Geth, with plans to add more in the future.

Baldet left JPMorgan in the beginning of April, with as-of-then unannounced plans to start her own company. She tells Fortune that the state of blockchain currently can be compared to the beginning of the use of public clouds – at first businesses built their own, only later changing to public clouds as security improved: “the conversation on the enterprise side right now feels a little bit like that.”

Clovyr is currently in the fundraising stage, but will not be holding an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) – Sorry, there’s no ICO,” says Baldet, but adding that Clovyr will help companies convert fiat into crypto if needed.

A multitude of Wall Street executives have recently been leaving their traditional financial jobs for the blockchain and crypto sphere. One former Goldman Sachs exec joined crypto wallet in mid-April, while another reportedly left to join Mike Novogratz’s digital merchant crypto bank as COO.

Yesterday, May 14, Cointelegraph reported that the CFO of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank left the bank to become COO of blockchain software firm

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