JP Morgan leaves New York-based blockchain consortium

JPMorgan has left the bank blockchain consortium led by New York-based startup R3 CEV, as financial institutions refine their strategies around the nascent technology. R3, which counts about 80 financial institutions as members, wants to raise $150m from its members and strategic investors.

The move by JPMorgan, which has a technology centre in Glasgow, follows the departure of other large banks from R3. Goldman Sachs, Santander, Morgan Stanley, and National Australian Bank left the group in quick succession late last yea. Like the other banks that have left the group.

JPMorgan is involved in other blockchain initiatives. It is a member of the newly formed blockchain consortium Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, and is an investor in blockchain startups Axoni and Digital Asset Holdings. It also participates in the Hyperledger Project, a cross-industry group led by the Linux Foundation.

R3, which began operating in September 2015, seeks to help the financial sector develop shared blockchain technology. “We’re grateful to JPMorgan for their input to R3,” it said in a statement after Reuters reported the bank’s departure. “We’ve got over 80 members across the world and have secured significant commitment from them in terms of both capital and resources.”

Blockchain is a distributed ledger of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers on the Internet rather than a centralised authority. It first emerged as the system underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, but banks are hoping it can help them reduce the complexity and costs of activities like international payments and trading settlement.