Consensus 2019: ERC20 JPMCoin for Cross-Border Payments

In my memory, Consensus events have always been more professional and less flamboyant than many of the other crypto conferences; this year, the vibe has been almost indistinguishable from let’s say, a fintech event. Gone are the days when on the sidelines the dealmakers and brokers of various degree of dubiousness were hashing about multimillion-dollar transactions expecting to make 100-x returns… There were no askers and no bidders. Corporate giants such as IBM, Deloitte, Accenture had some of the biggest presence at the event. And even JPMorgan’s Quorum was at display.

JPM Coin

A source involved in the development of the coin confirmed that it is an ERC20 token. Apparently, there is a lot less secrecy about this project than many have assumed as the entire code is available on GitHub. According to the same source, it is still in the pilot stage, they have run some transactions in the test environment, but need to make sure that everything works smoothly before JPMorgan involves other banks as they can’t afford for anything to go awry. At this point, it is believed that cross-border payments may be the biggest application of the coin where clients would be able to make instantaneous transfers. There are different consensus mechanism available, none of them involve mining, making this private fork of Ethereum much faster than its originator. Jamie Dimon was aware of the project when he was making derogatory remarks about Bitcoin, but to him, Bitcoin and blockchain are distinct technologies.

University of Nicosia – 50% of Students Pay Tuition in Bitcoins

I spoke to Marinos Themistocleous, the associate dean of the University of Nicosia School of Business. It’s the first school to offer a master’s degree in cryptocurrency and one of the instructors for its MOOC is Andreas Antonopoulos.

It all began around 2011 when a board member of the University was visiting New York and for the experiment’s sake sent a bitcoin transaction back to Cyprus to the CEO. And when the transaction took just a few minutes to clear instead of days with SWIFT, the CEO was really impressed

“then we realized it was going to be big and we wanted to be a part of it”.

In 2013, the school began accepting Bitcoins and currently about 50 percent of the students choose to pay their tuition in BTC. Furthermore, the university offers a five percent discount to those who choose this mode.

“Most of the bitcoin we receive, we hold long-term. We do convert some of it as we have fiat expenses. Many of our instructors prefer to get paid in bitcoins”.

The school began offering a master’s in cryptocurrency in 2014. Thus far, approximately 600 students have attended 100 graduating. Although on the surface these numbers don’t look impressive, Mr. Themistocleous explained that in the first few intakes were really small, while the last couple has had about 100 students each, so the school expects to see many graduates soon. There is no typical student profile, some are in their early twenties, while there was “an American millionaire about 75-years-old”. About twenty percent comes from the U.S. – in terms of geography, this is the biggest market.

The biggest challenge for the program is the pace with which everything changes in this space.“We never teach the same course twice”, says Mr. Themistocleous. Also, the school is in the process of revamping its program with the idea of providing its graduates with the skill that are going to be in demand a couple of years from now. Three concentrations will be offered (probably starting in 2020): blockchain development, policy making/regulation, and finance and business.

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