Inside money, markets, and big tech

JP Morgan’s new digital ‘coin’ is not a cryptocurrency, or even a stablecoin

JPM Coin is the ultimate bankcoin


JP Morgan has a new digital asset, JPM Coin. It’s not really a cryptocurrency, and it’s not quite a stablecoin, but it does use a blockchain. It’s mostly referred to as a digital coin.

Still, JPM Coin is set to square off against all the other redeemable bank tokens in the market, eventually.

Announced today via a flurry of reports, JPM Coin’s drawcards are listed as each token being redeemable for fiat, and that its powered by a “blockchain,” specifically Quorum, a distributed ledger platform developed by JP Morgan and some of its partners.

The network powering JPM Coin will be entirely permissioned (private, or if you prefer: centralized), controlled by the bank itself. It will reportedly be available only to its institutional customers that pass JP Morgan‘s Know-Your-Customer measures.

That’s really about it. It is backed by the bank‘s “strong balance sheet,” its attention to cybersecurity, and supposedly robust regulatory oversight. It says this should assure institutional players.

But it’s only really specific institutional players that will get access to this… thing. They can use it to send money between thick bank accounts.

Ultimately, Jamie Dimon isn’t necessarily trying to pull the wool over your eyes. It’s quite honest this product is probably not for you, and if you are looking for cryptocurrency, you might want to check out something like Bitcoin or Ethereum.

Courtesy of J.P. Morgan

JP Morgan describes JPM Coin as a “prototype that will be tested” with a few of its clients, expanding it into a pilot program later this year.

JPM Coin is currently designed for business-to-business money movement flows, and because we are still in a testing phase, we don’t have plans to make this available to individuals at this stage. That said, the cost-savings and efficiency benefits would extend to the end customers of our institutional clients.

The last bit really sums up it all up. If you’re a corporation and you think that hip solutions like Ripple Labs’ XRP token, or the plethora of regulated stablecoins out there, aren’t quite centralized enough for you, then JPM Coin might be just what you’re after.

Although, in light of the Winklevii’s Gemini exchange being forced to close down certain accounts due to a supposed influx of token redemptions, one can’t help but suspect this is a well-crafted ploy at publicity, aimed to make a big splash in a now-oversaturated market.

Published February 14, 2019 — 16:03 UTC