LONDON — JPMorgan has asked a London-based fintech head to draw up a cryptocurrency strategy for the bank.
Oliver Harris, 29, is taking on a new role as head of crypto-assets strategy, reporting to Umar Farooq who is head of blockchain initiatives at the corporate and investment bank. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank, which is rumoured to be preparing for a spin-off.
Financial News first reported Harris’ new job, which Harris has advertised on his LinkedIn profile. JPMorgan declined to comment when contacted by Business Insider.
Harris has been running JPMorgan’s “In Residence” programme for the last two years, which identifies and partners with promising fintech startups.
Business Insider understands that Harris will be identifying and spearheading new crypto projects for the bank in his role, rather than actively trading cryptocurrencies. Financial News reports that Harris will look at crypto custody services and how blockchain could work in JPMorgan’s payments business.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been famously dismissive of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin specifically, calling it a fraud last September. More recently he told CNBC: “I’m open-minded to uses of cryptocurrencies if properly controlled and regulated.”
Mainstream financial institutions that were once wary of cryptocurrencies are increasingly exploring ways to enter the market. Goldman Sachs recently announced it is setting up a bitcoin trading desk and exchange group CME this week launched two ethereum price indexes, sitting alongside bitcoin future products it launched last year.