Ron Karpovich, Global Head of eCommerce Solutions at JPMorgan Chase, stated that there is “more partnership instead of competition” between the financial establishment and crypto disruptors when it comes to the payments space. Karpovich made his remarks during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box today, March 20.
In response to a question from CNBC’s host as to how the banking giant is poised to compete with new and disruptive actors than can leverage blockchain and cryptocurrencies to offer the same services as the old guard, but with lower fees, Karpovich said:
“Ultimately behind the scenes, they [crypto innovators] are going to have to use a bank to move funds. There’s more partnership instead of competition in that space. [...] When it comes to margins and capabilities — payments is never something that grows in margin, nobody wants to pay for a payment. That’s one of the hardest parts of this process: you have limited resources in the capability to sell, so you need highly efficient and large players.”
Karpovich thus attributed the high degree of “consolidation in the payments space” to this prime requirement to provide efficiency in the ability to make payments.
In his further comments, Karpovich noted that whereas blockchain could indeed revolutionize the payments industry, consumers in future may not necessarily register the transformation, as the technology may well develop into a back-end technology that simply provides cost and time efficiency to services.
With regard to JPMorgan Chase’s recently unveiled blockchain-powered JPM Coin, Karpovich dismissed the suggestion that the move represents a u-turn in the bank’s stance toward the crypto space — given CEO Jamie Dimon’s notorious antagonism toward Bitcoin (BTC) in particular:
“I think there’s a difference between trading a cryptocurrency that’s in the market that’s ubiquitous versus using the technology to enhance your payments infrastructure. We look at the technology as being a means to doing things faster and cheaper: every CEO would like to make things faster and cheaper. So from that standpoint I think it represents a buy into the concept of using blockchain.”
This, he continued, aligns with JPMorgan Chase’s ongoing initiatives, given that Karpovich considers the bank to be a “big player in the blockchain space,” citing the bank’s private blockchain platform Quorum and accompanying Quorum-based Interbank Information Network.
As reported, responses to JPM Coin have been mixed, with some hailing the development as a highly positive moment for the crypto industry as a whole, and others critiquing its proprietary and closed network structure, arguing it will perpetuate the fragmentation of the financial sector.