JPMorgan’s chair of global research, Joyce Chang, said, “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.”
A recent report led by Chang purportedly states that blockchain applications in trade-finance are more common because of the high potential gains from efficiency through digitization. She reportedly noted that, while cryptocurrencies have attracted the most attention, the underlying technology of a distributed ledger is more important.
Chang pointed to the Interbank Information Network (IIN), which consists of 157 member banks internationally. IIN was developed by JPMorgan on its Quorum platform, which is based on the Ethereum blockchain. The organization aims to tackle challenges of sharing information between banks and to expedite transactions to recipients.
Per the report, Spanish banks such as BBVA and Santander have been especially forward-thinking in applying blockchain technology within their respective businesses. In December 2018, BBVA closed a €150 million loan using blockchain technology with Porsche Holding. In April 2018, BBVA claimed to have been the “first” global bank to conduct an entire loan process using blockchain technology.
While blockchain is becoming more widely adopted for certain financial services, Chang noted that the technology faces four major challenges: scalability, integration, cost-efficiency, and regulation.
Earlier this month, a group of researchers from top United States universities announced the launch of a “globally scalable decentralized payments network.” Distributed Technologies Research, which includes researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, is funding the development of a cryptocurrency called “Unit-e.”