It’s a less radical version of blockchain because banks and other established firms control who gets to use it. Only J.P. Morgan clients who have been vetted for regulatory reasons will be able to transact with JPM Coin, for instance. Even there, Bessant has her doubts.
“I will be curious to see what the actual volume of usage is on the JPM Coin in a year,” she said.
Others see more potential for blockchain, especially for areas like trade finance. Blockchain will begin to have an effect there in three to five years, Joyce Chang, J.P. Morgan’s chair of global research, said in a Jan. 24 research note.
During the wide-ranging interview, Bessant also talked about the bank’s efforts to retrain its 95,000 technology workers. Last year, she dispatched executives to Google, Oracle and IBM to understand how those firms train their employees in new skills. The bank formed internal universities with more than 80,000 courses to help its workers stay relevant.
Bessant also addressed the so-called techlash against companies like Facebook and Google, in part because of high-profile scandals involving the use of customer data.
Lenders are more heavily regulated than technology companies in the U.S., and Bank of America is working to protect customers at the moment financial transactions happen with more robust authentication methods, she said. That will help prevent fraud even if users’ private data has been stolen, she added.
“We’ve all, as a society, given up data far in advance of knowing how it was going to be used,” Bessant said. “Regulation will come to other sectors. I believe the need is there. I believe that consumers and users will demand it.”