Nomura & JPMorgan directors: banks like blockchain, not crypto
This time last year, crypto native companies were strong on "discipline and focus", waiting for banking institutions to get in on the 'next big thing'. They're still waiting... kind of. The past year has seen banks get more involved in blockchain infrastructure projects, but full scale crypto adoption is a long way away.
Speaking at the 2023 digital asset conference, JPMorgan's credit lead for distributed ledger technology markets, Emma Lovett, says there is "quite an air gap" between blockchain and crypto itself; the two are "quite segregated." She expects that "the banks are going to be working on one thing, the crypto side will be working on something else."
At present, Lovett says the "focus from the banks for the next few years is on connecting institutional platforms." The banks are looking for a "single ledger that unlocks so that many of the advantages of blockchain aren't lost."
This hopeful apprehension is also confirmed by Steve Ashley, the Nomura MD that co-founded and spun out its crypto arm, Laser Digital. "There still is quite a low tolerance to being invested in this market," Ashley says, as firms remain "fully focused on the infrastructure leg." The key issue for Ashley is the lack of a "fully vertically integrated prime brokerage solution, fully backed by the market."
This doesn't mean institutions don't want to trade crypto, rather they're waiting for someone else to prove it can be done without the current risks. Ashley says the attitude of firms right now is that they "don’t want to be a leader in this space, but want to be a fast follower."
It's a message that simply knowing about crypto isn't going to get you a job in a bank now: you need to know about blockchain too.
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