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Luno CEO Talks JP Morgan’s Newest Mobile Payments Push, JPM Coin

March 1, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Considering what Jamie Dimon previously was heard saying about cryptocurrency—calling it a “fraud” and famously announcing to the world he’d fire any of his traders seen dealing in bitcoin—the recent move from JP Morgan to launch its own cryptocurrency known as JPM Coin didn’t make a lot of sense. Dimon’s expressed regret over calling bitcoin a fraud in 2018 notwithstanding, it was still a strange move. Recently, Marcus Swanepoel, co-founder and CEO of the Luno exchange, offered up some commentary about the new coin and what it meant to the market.

Swanepoel noted that the JPM Coin wasn’t exactly having a lot of impact on the market because it wasn’t technically a cryptocurrency. If you’re puzzling over that one, don’t worry; he clarified that remark noting that the coin was a “closed loop system” that was used exclusively by JP Morgan for internal operations. Since it was only available to JP Morgan clients and required JP Morgan’s permission to actually use, its impact in the wider market is minimal at best.

Additionally, since JP Morgan runs JPM Coin exclusively via the Quorum blockchain network, it ensures that it will be an infrequently-used and little-noted coin. A “genuine cryptocurrency,” Swanepoel noted, was available to anyone, though that might be somewhat debatable given accessibility issues on exchanges; try buying Dogecoin on Coinbase, for example.

Essentially, it’s the possibilities of JPM Coin that are a big deal here, not so much the launch itself. Which makes sense; the coin is a furious ball of nothing right now. Everyone’s paying attention to it because Jamie Dimon spent months actively cheerleading the demise of bitcoin before his heel-face turn back in 2018 or so. The implications of JPM Coin might be impressive enough, but it would have to go into wider availability in order for these to have any real impact; it’s like a room with no doors, in that it’s so secure no one can actually use it. So, what’s the point?

Still, JPM Coin could go somewhere eventually, assuming it opens up the floodgates to wider access. It might not have a lot of utility, but a crypto backed by an investment firm could represent a new step forward in stablecoin.