Incoming avalanche of adoption? JPMorgan appoints crypto-assets strategy head

JPMorgan enacted a high-level reshuffle by shifting Oliver Harris, former Fintech and In-Residence initiative head, to a cryptocurrency strategy position. This marks the second big Wall Street bank moving into the crypto space after Goldman Sachs launched a crypto trading desk recently.

Oliver Harris previously worked with JP Morgan’s Strategy and New Business Development team. Prior to that, Harris was a strategy consultant at Accenture for 3 years. He is now the head of the crypto-assets strategy and JPMorgan’s native blockchain called Quorum. Quorum, launched in 2016, was built on the Ethereum blockchain.

It is interesting to note that Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan said he would fire any employee trading Bitcoin for being “stupid” last September. He also said it “won’t end well” and that “its a fraud”.

The banking institution has been doubtful towards the viability of cryptocurrencies in general. In February of this year, they banned customers for crypto purchases using JPMorgan credit cards.

Harris, with his experience in strategy, will lead JPMorgan’s Quorum project, which was an experiment devised to make up for inefficiencies in the banking system. He will report to Umar Farooq, the blockchain initiative director at the Corporate and Investment Bank section of JPMorgan.

The move signifies Wall Street adoption by more than just one bank, leading to beliefs that it is possible that many other significant Wall Street banking institutions may dip their toes into the crypto market.

JPMorgan is the world’s 10th largest financial services company by revenue, firmly planting its feet as one of the industry’s biggest names. This may as well be the snowball that triggers the avalanche of adoption among Wall Street companies.

Twitter users poked fun at Jamie Dimon’s statement that Bitcoin is a fraud. User Barry Silbert said:

“JPMorgan: “Bitcoin is fraud”

Goldman: “We’re launching a bitcoin trading desk”

JPMorgan: “Did I say fraud? I meant crypto is a core bank strategy””

User Pomp said:

“WHOA!! JP MORGAN IS JUMPING INTO TOKENIZED SECURITIES. They have an infrastructure prototype to more efficiently settle security transactions. We’re going to #TokenizeTheWorld and no one can stop us“

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