The bank has moved Oliver Harris, the head of an in-house scheme to develop new financial technologies, into a role looking at the use of cryptocurrencies across its corporate and investment bank, according to people familiar with the matter.
London-based Harris, who is all of 29, has been leading JPMorgan’s Fintech and In-Residence program since 2015, moves at a time when large US investment banks are exploring the risks and rewards of digital monies and the distributed ledger or blockchain technologies that underpin them.
In addition, Harris will be also leading JPMorgan’s Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank, which is rumored to be preparing for a spin-off.
The 29 year-old’s move was announced internally on Wednesday and the bank is yet to fill the vacancy he has left behind. Although he is young, Harris has a profound knowledge of the blockchain and crypto world. Harris has previously worked as a strategy consultant at Accenture and has been at JP Morgan for the past four years, dealing mostly with the tech-based ideas and projects.
This comes off as a significant decision on JPMorgan’s part to pick a dedicated leader of crypto asset strategy. More so as it comes less than nine months after Morgan’s Chief Exceutive Dimon dismissed Bitcoin as stupid and dangerous.
However, he backtracked, saying in January that he was “open-minded about cryptocurrencies if they were properly controlled and regulated”. Dimon, however, never dissed blockchain technology and always believed in its huge potential.