Former head of J.P. Morgan’s blockchain arm is no longer on Wall Street. But the former insider says major banks like her former employer could get into the cryptocurrency business imminently.
“I think it’s coming sooner than people probably think,” Amber Baldet, Former head of J.P. Morgan’s blockchain arm told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” Friday. “But even where the will is, the legal and regulatory framework is challenging.”
Despite record investor profits from bitcoin’s 1,300 percent rise last year, most banks have stayed away. Goldman Sachs is reportedly moving ahead with plans to set up the first bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank.
But custody is still a huge challenge, Baldet said. Right now, financial institutions have few ways of safeguarding a firm’s digital assets, although some solutions were announced this week.
Japan-based global investment bank Nomura unveiled a venture to establish a custody offering Wednesday, and Coinbase also announced a fleet of new offerings that includes a custody solution on Monday.
Baldet’s post-J.P. Morgan plans had been the topic of speculation since she announced her departure from the bank in April. Baldet unveiled her new start-up Clovyr Wednesday at the Consensus blockchain conference. The company offers something similar to the app store but for projects built on blockchain technology.
“There’s no way to discover what’s out there right now, there’s no Google for finding applications,” Baldet said. “The ability to discover apps is helpful but the ability to build them is also encompassed in there.”
Baldet, who was listed on Fortune’s 40 Under 40 list of the most influential young people in business, led J.P. Morgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence. She played a critical role at establishing the bank’s enterprise blockchain strategy, and its flagship Quorom project.
J.P. Morgan developed its blockchain technology two years ago for clearing and settling derivatives and cross-border payments but Baldet said it can be used across industries.
“It’s an open-sourced project, it’s completely agnostic and industry agnostic as well,” she said.