Crypto Progress Update: JPMorgan to begin trials; IBM upgrades platform

Corporations across the globe have been moving forward on many major internal crypto and blockchain related products and services, not waiting for private token development companies to provide solutions for their specific needs. While most of the newsprint these days has been devoted to the likes of Facebook, Fidelity Investments, and the Bakkt exchange, firms like JPMorgan Chase and IBM have been perfecting their various innovations in the crypto-verse in relative silence without much fanfare. For the record, both entities have made significant strides in the past few months and are now beginning to let the word out to inform the general public and potential clients of their progress.

JPMorgan to begin trials of bond fulfillment service in late 2019

JPMorgan Chase did create big headlines back in February, when it announced its “JPM Coin” concept, which was to be used internally to make their various global cash management systems more efficient, timely, and less costly. At the time, Umar Farooq, the head of JPMorgan’s blockchain projects, explained the apparent need and opportunity:

So anything that currently exists in the world, as that moves onto the blockchain, this would be the payment leg for that transaction. The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this.

Over the intervening months, clients had approached the bank and suggested that they may be able to use the internal coin and blockchain capability to shorten the amount of time it takes to finalize the issuance of bonds. These types of transactions can take days to process, but management at the bank had intimated that its proprietary “JPM Coin could allow for the “instant” delivery of bonds via its blockchain platform”.

The news today is that the global bank holding company has been hard at work on this very project, and, if regulatory approvals are as forthcoming as planned, then trials of its new bond fulfillment service could begin in late 2019. Farooq sees these movements by JPMorgan as part of a much larger trend that will encompass the securities industry going forward:

We believe that a lot of securities over time, in five to 20 years, will increasingly become digital or get tokenized.

IBM announces enhancements to its blockchain platform solution

As a global consulting firm, IBM was never one to “wait-and-see” how blockchain technology evolved. It saw potential firsthand for its global client base and began building blockchain solutions for immediate use in the commercial marketplace. Its market niche were small to large-sized firms that did not have the wherewithal or resources to build there own internal solutions. IBM soon offered its proprietary IBM Blockchain Platform to put its clients on the fast track to enjoying its requisite benefits.

Per its website:

IBM Blockchain Platform is a flexible “software-as-a-service” (SaaS) offering that is delivered via the IBM Cloud. It enables network members to quickly get started developing and easily move to a collaborative environment. The platform simplifies your blockchain journey of developing, governing, and operating a network.

Current solutions address cross-border payments, identity protection, food services, global trade, and trade finance. There are over 500+ client engagements and 1,600+ experts available for support and to provide expertise in a variety of industry verticals.

IBM recently announced that it had created a new and improved version of it blockchain platform that would make it easier for clients to adapt it to their present situation and take advantage of its many tools and features. The original version was designed specifically for the IBM Cloud environment, but the newer version is more cloud-agnostic, allowing for usage on private internal cloud arrangements, or even with public cloud systems offered by Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure.

The upgraded platform will also permit clients more flexibility in designing smart contracts and in managing associated networks. More importantly, however, were enhancements that pertain to usage and pricing. The IBM Blockchain Platform offering now more closely resembles the general standard for most “SaaS” service offerings. Clients can now select only the components that they need, and flexible, tiered billing structures allow for “pay-as-you-go” and “pay-as-you-grow” pricing, thereby removing many of the financial headaches and hurdles that can waylay development projects.

Jerry Cuomo, IBM’s vice president of blockchain technologies, reiterated:

Through our partnerships, solutions, and services, we continue to lay the groundwork for widespread adoption of enterprise blockchain.

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