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JPMorgan releases a new update for its enterprise blockchain solution

Developed by JPMorgan, Quorum is a financial software platform built for the common adoption of blockchain across participants in the industry. It is an enterprise-focused solution and comes packaged as a permissioned blockchain infrastructure.

In February 2020 JP Morgan released a report stating that “Blockchain is laying the foundation for digital money.” The report further says that the emergence of linked databases like Ethereum, as well as a change in consumer preferences, has turned the modernization of payments into a global theme. “Payments, trade finance, and custodial services remain the clearest use cases for blockchain,” the report states.

In July 2019 JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon told Yahoo Finance that "crypto companies want to eat our lunch.” He made these comments around the time of the JP Morgan Coin (JPM-Coin) release. JPM-Coin is an internal stablecoin rolled out to corporate customers and is pegged to the US dollar. Dimon suggests that the bank has a growing recognition of the disruptive threat from the crypto industry.

The internal stablecoin payment network for JP Morgan corporate clients is built using Quorum and utilizes its privacy features. Quorum Platform Version 2.6.0 was released late on the 4th of May.

Quorum is described as, a “Trusted Technology suit that puts blockchain to work for your business,” and was built specifically for use cases within finance. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) is a global leader in financial services, offering solutions to the world’s most important corporations, governments, and institutions. It operates in more than 100 countries. It is reported as having total assets worth US$2.687 Trillion.

The Quorum platform has already been adopted by seperate financial institutions. A blockchain-based commodity trade finance platform called komgo, built by Japanese bank MUFG, is based on Quorum and aims to digitize trade finance operations to improve efficiency. The first live trade executed on komgo was executed In January 2020.

Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement, and Custody Bank (Takasbank) also has a platform based on Quorum, for digital gold trading. This platform enables transaction privacy. Only regulators can view trades on the Takasbank platform.

Quorum is based on the open-source blockchain Ethereum (ETH), and is built to include a minimalistic fork of a Golang (Go) Ethereum client or “geth.” This means JPMorgan’s permissioned blockchain utilizes existing technology built by open-source Ethereum developers as a base. The recent platform change is an upgrade to Quorom’s geth version from geth 1.9.7 to geth v.1.9.7.

The connection to the main Ethereum chain allows platform users direct access to:

  • Transaction and contract privacy
  • Multiple voting-based consensus mechanisms
  • Network/Peer permissions management
  • Higher performance

The May 4th Quorum update is an upgrade to the “Quorum Node,” the modified geth client component of Quorum. JP Morgan’s blockchain service also comes with “Constellation/Tessera – Transaction Manager” and “Constellation/Tessera – Enclave”. The Transaction Manager and Enclave are Haskell and Java implementations of a general-purpose system for submitting information in a secure way.

The Quorum Transaction Manager keeps transactions private. It is responsible for allowing access to encrypted transaction data, and, exchanging encrypted payloads with other users of the Transaction Manager. The manager does not have access to private keys.

Enclave handles the cryptographic element of Quorum. This includes tasks like symmetric key generation and data encryption/decryption.

Enclaves and Transaction managers communicate with each other and conduct encryption and decryption in isolation to secure privacy. The components are built using technology “comparable to a network of MTA (Message Transfer Agents) where messages are encrypted with PGP.”

Version 2.6.0 of the Quorum Node has a number of key features:

  • Performance Improvements- Optimizing storage and account access patterns, Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) code optimization and sync process optimization.
  • Transaction pool efficiency for better throughput.
  • Native GraphQL query capabilities for easier querying.

A full list of release features can be found here.

The Quorum Github repo evidences the historical development of the blockchain-based financial software platform. Version 2.6.0 was pushed by Github user “Sai V” (vsmk98). The developer has been particularly active recently, and made 161 Github contributions in the last year.

JPMorgan releases a new update for its enterprise blockchain solution (1)

The most frequent year for dev activity within the repo was 2015. The two most active contributors are Jeffrey Wilcke (Obscuren) and Péter Szilágyi (karalabe). Wilcke has made 2,629 commits in the repo and Szilágyi has made 1,048. Szilágyi is the author of Project Iris and is a team lead at Ethereum, while Wilcke is a member of the Ethereum founding team.


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