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Sibos 2022: Blockchain is still the ‘Holy Grail’ for data – JP Morgan

Sibos 2022: Blockchain is still the ‘Holy Grail’ for data – JP Morgan

JP Morgan is celebrating the success of its blockchain application Confirm this week, following announcements that Deutsche Bank and Visa have been brought on board as key partners.

Confirm is a global account information validation tool, allowing participants to confirm account information and receive responses in near-real time from other network participants.

The application is deployed through Liink, JP Morgan Onyx’s information exchange network that enables payment-related data sharing between institutions.

Stepping into the shoes of JP Morgan’s digital asset veteran, Christine Moy, in February, Liink’s new global head of Liink Sushil Raja has a full plate, having assisted in building the Liink team and strategy as CFO alongside Moy.

“It has been a good opportunity for me to take the things I was thinking about from a strategy mindset, and shift toward the commercialisation and business mindset. My focus this year has been upping the intensity on making Liink and the products we’re building, like Confirm, real and commercialised.”

The bank projects significant growth for Confirm over the next 12 months, hoping to increase its presence from 10 countries in 2022 to 30 countries by the end of 2023. By the end of 2022, JP Morgan predicts the service will grow its coverage to span across more than 3,500 banks, covering more than two billion accounts.

Confirm’s global head, Alex Littleton, states that finding the right partnership opportunities will continue to be key for Confirm’s plans to scale quickly.

“The Deutsche Bank partnership has been a critical part of how we think about doing business in general. Deutsche Bank is a founding member for Confirm, and what we see as an opportunity is to identify similar founding members in other regions.”

In the same way Deutsche is Confirm’s founding member for EMEA, the company is in active conversations with potential founding members in APAC and LATAM to bring on similar types of institutions.

Raja notes that the partnership is the culmination of 18 months of work, much of which has taken place in close collaboration with Deutsche Bank. A central component of the founding member role is providing input and “regional expertise” to Confirm in order to influence the product trajectory and roadmap.

Littleton adds that the brand association of partnership with a global institution like Deutsche Bank has reinforced market credibility for Confirm.

On the Visa partnership, Littleton explains: “Visa and JP Morgan are both investing in blockchain. While Liink is focused on information and efficiency, Visa is focused on value and money movement. We therefore saw an opportunity for the networks to complement one another. Liink is focussed on making sure there’s the least amount of friction in the money movement process as possible.”

A key selling point for the product is the inherent data security that comes with being based on blockchain. Blockchain is critical to the bank’s vision of the future, according to Raja, because financial institutions are all on the “information journey” toward understanding how best to leverage their data to make better decisions.

“The Holy Grail is a world where information can be shared to improve the collective intelligence of all industry participants,” Raja comments.

“The problem is, I don't think any institution will want to share their information in a way that's not secure and permissioned, and blockchain enables that kind of structure going forward. With Confirm, each participant has their own node on our network, with full control over how and when that information is shared.”

The end result is that if JP Morgan is trying to validate an account to which it is sending a payment in Germany, for instance, Deutsche Bank can enable JP Morgan to leverage the information asset they might have to make a better decision.

This happens in a decentralised way, where no single party is responsible for a “honeypot” of data.

Raja concludes: “What's exciting is that as we gain momentum with Confirm, we're building a network of participants that could engage on other applications and use cases. There is a lot of opportunity and we're pretty excited to be at the beginning of that journey.”

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