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区块链国际资讯

以摩根大通为例,看大型公司如何处理好和其区块链之间的关系

区块链国际资讯

以摩根大通为例,看大型公司如何处理好和其区块链之间的关系

作为摩根大通(JP Morgan Chase)新任的区块链领导人,Christine Moy被人们寄予厚望,而她显然还有很多需要解决的难题。

Moy于上个月在离开了一家尚未命名的初创公司后,从区块链最知名人物之一的Amber Baldet手中接过了摩根大通区块链部门的大旗。大约在同一时间,Baldet宣布了她的离职消息,据消息透露,摩根大通正在考虑将Quorum(基于以太坊的开源项目)分拆出来,而该项目是该银行在区块链业务中的基石。

显然,这些讨论并不意味着Quorum正在苦苦挣扎中——像摩根大通这样的大公司更倾向于搁置失败的项目,而不是将它们拆分受资金支持的实体。

事实上,我们可以认为Quorum反而可能已成为其自身成功的一个受害者。有超过20个在Enterprise Ethereum Alliance的组织希望在该平台之上搭建他们的工作小组。

但是对于摩根大通来说,这一挑战在于允许Quorum能以真正的开源协议风格独立地发展。也许私有区块链会像它们的公有链对手一样,也面临着棘手的治理问题——尤其是一旦它们开始获得网络效应的时候。

的确,摩根大通还参与了一些Quorum之外的重要区块链项目,例如它与Digital Asset Holdings、Axoni和Nivaura的合作。然而,针对Quorum这个很明显但是没人去解决的问题,也必须要引起相关人士的重视。

对于摩根大通来说幸运的是,Moy作为一个领导者对这个项目了如指掌,而且她还非常熟悉银行开始探索区块链技术的原因。

区块链的交叉训练

Moy是摩根大通Blockchain Centre of Excellence(BCOE)新项目领导,她给人们提供了分布式分类账簿技术所要解决问题的第一手知识。

她的职业生涯始于摩根大通的银团贷款业务。在这份工作中,Moy必须处理所有需要在交易完成之前签署的文件。即使这个工作比传统金融的大部分领域更显传统,但这样它也需要20天的时间才能解决。

在这之后,她花了10年的时间在银行的一系列资产部门工作。这种交叉培训还包括她见证了在2008年金融危机席卷整个金融体系时,证券和监管链是如何被冻结的。

这些经历突显了一个透明的和解制度的重要性——就像银团贷款的作用推动了家庭所需要的快速解决方案一样。

凭借着这样的正统经历和观点,Moy自然是BCOE的最佳人选。

然而,也许最重要的是,在一个庞大而多元化的公司的各个部门工作,并且这个公司的各个部门都是通过几十年的并购所组成的,这些都塑造了Moy对DLT面临的主要挑战之一的思考,尤其是她对于互操作性的思考。

她表示:

设计区块链来反映现有的模拟操作模式是没有意义的。在不考虑实现互操作性或连接性的方式的情况下创建小型区块链网络的碎片化,可能不是企业寻求的节约成本和运营效率所承诺的途径。

开源、开放的心态

当然,这也为一家银行带来了另一个敏感话题,尤其是其首席执行官以抨击比特币著称的银行,这个话题就是公有链网络。

Quorum虽然是用开源的代码构建的,但它是一个私有链,在几年前当企业(特别是金融机构)热衷于尝试这项技术、却不想使用任何加密货币的时候,这种尝试是非常流行的。

但就在最近,一度清晰地规划开始变得慢慢模糊起来。根据许多以太坊拥护者的说法,我们只是在一个全新的价值交易生态系统的拨号互联网阶段。而最终的目标是将金融界与公有链联系起来。

在一年前的努力中,EEA(刚刚发布了它的体系架构图)正在积极地构建这些桥梁以及以太坊基金会的工作,同时他们还帮助了一个广泛的、人口众多的开发者社区。

Moy多次说道,关于哪些区块链或协议能被广泛使用,她是一个“不可知论者”,或者她保持一个中立的态度 。但她表示,与公共领域的创新保持联系是很重要的。

她告诉CoinDesk:

对我们来说,在以太坊工作的一件重要的事情是我们能够与之保持紧密联系,甚至能够将一些创新和工作融入到我们正在做的事情中去。也许有一天,这一切都会趋同。

另一方面,尽管她可能是协议不可知论者,但Moy相信企业DLT的基本构件已经就绪。

她说道:

在企业领域中几乎已经不再涌现什么创建的新协议了,并且现在只有几个人们普遍认识的关键协议仍然存在。

Quorum的窘境

让我们回过头再来看Quorum,Moy把这个项目看作是开源软件的一个例子,来说明开源软件一旦向社区开放会如何进一步发展。

Moy指出许多实体都获得了Quorum并开始使用它,比如IHS Markit、Broadridge、Synechron、ING和BlockApps。到现在为止,这个平台已经聚集了一批的追随者。

全球金融数据提供商IHS Markit的董事总经理John Olesky表示:

Quorum在资本市场上势头强劲。这不仅得益于摩根大通的光环效应和来自全球银行技术的严密性,还得益于这些银行可以熟练掌握企业软件和隐私等合规性问题。

但这又引发了一个问题,因为它需要背后的支持,如果有一个公司致力于帮助企业整合技术,就像Red Hat支持企业Linux用户一样。企业希望可以找人帮助来修复漏洞或者网络瘫痪,而对软件的支持可不是银行的业务。

这就是为什么摩根大通正在考虑进行分拆,在内部进行更多的投资的同时聘请更多的工程师。

与此同时,Moy专注于将新的业务应用程序引入Quorum,例如与众多机构投资者一起测试债务发行平台。

她的团队最近签署了一份价值1.5亿美元的Yankee存款凭证(以美元计价,但由一家外国银行发行),以一种ERC-20代币作为法定货币。(ERC-20是在公共以太坊区块链上推出无数的首次硬币发行的标准。)

一份智能合约使产品、分销和关键性的“交付与付款”实现了自动化——这意味着投资者只有在支付现金的情况下才会得到他们的证券。这一点值得注意,因为现金是清算和结算领域的王者,而将现金收入记到共享账簿上会被视为区块链构建者的一个关键部分。

Moy还认为Yonkee的试验是一个更开放和转型的金融体系的先兆。

她说道:

这是我们在区块链上发行传统金融工具的一个例子。但下一个阶段是当你有真正的资产管理公司参与这样产品的时候,这一阶段监管会是什么样子的?基金管理是什么样子的?以及交易市场是什么样的? 我们还要拭目以待。

As JP Morgan Chase's new blockchain lead, Christine Moy has big shoes to fill. And a quandary to resolve.

Moy took over last month from Amber Baldet, one of the most prominent figures in blockchain, after she left to form an as-yet-unnamed startup. Around the same time Baldet announced her departure, word leaked out that JP Morgan was considering a spin-out of Quorum, the ethereum-based, open-source project that had been the cornerstone of the bank's blockchain work.

To be clear, those deliberations do not mean Quorum is struggling - big corporates like JP Morgan tend to shelve failing projects, not spin them out into funded entities.

Indeed, it could be argued that Quorum may have become a victim of its own success. There are more than 20 organizations within the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance working group looking to build on top of the platform.

But for JP Morgan, the challenge is about allowing Quorum to flourish independently, in true open-source protocol style. Perhaps private blockchains, like their public counterparts, face difficult governance problems, too - especially once they start to gather a network effect.

Yet in an interview this week, Moy was quick to emphasize that the recent speculation around Quorum does not capture the breadth of JP Morgan's work in distributed ledger technology (DLT).

She told CoinDesk:

"That's not the most exciting part about our team's agenda; it's part of the story but it's not, like, the story."

And it's true that JP Morgan is involved in a number of important blockchain projects that are separate from Quorum, such as its collaborations with Digital Asset Holdings, Axoni and Nivaura. Nevertheless, the fate of Quorum is the elephant in the room that will have to be addressed.

Fortunately for JP Morgan, in Moy it has a leader who not only knows that project inside and out but is all too familiar with the reasons the bank started exploring the tech to begin with.

Cross-trained for blockchain

Moy, the new program lead for the Blockchain Centre of Excellence (BCOE) at JP Morgan, brings to the role firsthand knowledge of exactly the kind of problems that distributed ledger technology aims to solve.

She started her career in the middle office of JP Morgan's syndicated loans business. In this job, Moy had to deal with all the documents that needed to be signed before these transactions could close. Even more antiquated than most corners of legacy finance, syndicated loans can take 20 days to settle.

"I used to be the person that faxed those documents around to settle those trades, so I know that process intimately," Moy said.

She then spent over a decade working across a range of assets and divisions at the bank. This cross-training included witnessing how securities and chains of custody were frozen solid as the 2008 crash engulfed the entire financial system.

That experience underscored for her the importance of a transparent system of reconciliation - just as the syndicated loans role drove home the need for faster settlements.

With that pedigree and perspective, Moy was a natural for the BCOE, where she was Baldet's first hire.

Yet perhaps most importantly, working in various parts of a sprawling, diversified company - one assembled from decades of mergers - has shaped Moy's thinking about one of the key challenges for DLT, particularly the private kind: interoperability.

"It doesn't make sense to design blockchains to reflect the siloed operating models existing today," she told CoinDesk, adding:

"Creating a fragmentation of small blockchain networks, without figuring out a way to enable interoperability or connectivity, is likely not the promised path to the cost savings and operational efficiency that enterprises are looking for."

Open source, open mind

This, of course, brings up another delicate subject for a bank, particularly one whose CEO has famously bashed bitcoin: public blockchain networks.

Quorum, although built with open-source code, is a private blockchain, the kind that was in vogue a few years ago when enterprises (financial institutions in particular) were keen to experiment with the technology but wanted nothing to do with any cryptocurrency.

Lately, though, once-sharp lines have slowly started to blur. According to many ethereum advocates, we are only just at the dial-up internet stage of a totally new value transacting ecosystem. The end goal is connecting the private world of finance with public blockchains.

In an effort that was perhaps unthinkable a year ago, the EEA (which just published its architecture stack diagram) is actively building these bridges, along with the work of the Ethereum Foundation and also the help of a wide and populous developer community.

For her part, Moy said several times that she is "agnostic," or neutral, about which blockchain or protocols are used. But she said it's important to stay in touch with the innovation taking place in the public sphere.

"One of the important things for us working on an ethereum variant was kind of being able to stay close to that and potentially even being able to integrate some of that innovation and work into the stuff that we are doing," she told CoinDesk, before musing:

"Maybe one day this will all converge."

On the other hand, while she may be protocol-agnostic, Moy believes the basic building blocks for enterprise DLT are now all in place.

"The creation of new protocols in the enterprise space has largely subsided, and there are just a few key protocols that everyone broadly recognizes will remain," she said.

Quorum quandary

Returning to Quorum, Moy views the project as an example of how open source software, once handed to the community, takes on a life of its own.

"We are entering this interesting point where other entities want to use Quorum, want to take it to production," she said.

A whole host of entities picked up Quorum and started using it, Moy noted, name-checking IHS Markit, Broadridge, Synechron, ING, and BlockApps. The platform has amassed a tribal following.

"Quorum has strong momentum in capital markets," said John Olesky, managing director at IHS Markit, a global financial data provider. "It benefits from the halo effect from JP Morgan and the technological rigor that comes from a global bank skilled in enterprise-strength software and compliance issues such as privacy."

But this raises a problem, because it requires a level of support that's only really possible if there's a company dedicated to helping enterprises integrate the technology, the way Red Hat supports corporate Linux users. Businesses want someone they can call to fix bugs or when the network is down. Software support is not the bank's business.

This is why JP Morgan is mulling over a spin-out. While reviewing its options, the bank is also looking at doing more investing internally and hiring more engineers, a spokeswoman said.

In the meantime, Moy's focus is on bringing new business applications to Quorum, such as the testing of a debt issuance platform with a host of institutional investors.

Her team recently executed a $150 million Yankee certificate of deposit (denominated in U.S. dollars but issued by a foreign bank) in the form of an ERC-20 token on Quorum. (ERC-20 is the standard that launched countless initial coin offerings on the public ethereum blockchain.)

A smart contract automated the offering, the distribution and, crucially, the "delivery versus payment"- meaning the investors got their securities only upon paying cash. This is notable because cash is king in the world of clearing and settlement - and getting cash onto a shared ledger is seen as a vital part of the puzzle for blockchain builders.

Moy also sees the Yankee CD trial as a harbinger of a more open and transformed financial system.

"This is an example of us issuing a traditional financial instrument natively on the blockchain," she said. "But the next phase is when you have real asset managers participating in a product like this; it's about, what does custody look like? What does fund administration look like - and what does a trades market look like for something like this?"

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