JPMorgan building
Ethereum,  Technology

JPMorgan mulls merger between blockchain unit Quorum and ConsenSys: Report

A deal could be announced in six months

Banking giant JPMorgan is said to be in talks with ConsenSys to merge the Ethereum venture studio with its in-house blockchain unit Quorum, according to a report in Reuters. 

The deal is likely to be hashed out over the next six months before a formal announcement is made, sources familiar with the matter told the outlet. 

Around 25 people currently work on the Quorum team globally, and it is unclear whether they will join ConsenSys after the merger, the people said.

Joseph Lubin
Joseph Lubin launched ConsenSys in 2015. (Photo: Provided)

ConsenSys was created by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin in 2015. The Brooklyn-based company grew rapidly during the crypto bubble of 2017, but since then it’s gone through some contractions. Last week, the startup announced it was splitting into two businesses, a software business and a venture arm, letting go of 14% of its staff in the process. 

Financial institutions have been pouring money into blockchain technologies, mostly as a way to increase efficiencies in clearing and settlements. JPMorgan announced its Quorum blockchain, a platform built on an enterprise version of Ethereum, in October 2017. 

JPMorgan uses Quorum to run its Interbank Information Network, or IIN, a payments network that involves more than 300 banks. The bank also said it would use Quorum to issue JPMorgan Coin, a stablecoin that it designed for instantaneous payments.

The bank has been talking about spinning off Quorum into the wild as an open source network for around two years. It has weighed options such as setting up an open-source foundation, creating a new startup altogether, or even merging Quorum with another company, according to the report.

A merger with ConsenSys would have no impact on the IIN and other JPMorgan projects running on Quorum, sources told Reuters. But given that both organizations have collaborated on joint initiatives in the past, the move makes sense moving forward.  

Modern Consensus reached out to JPMorgan and ConsenSys, but both companies declined to comment on the news.

(Updated on Feb. 11 at 12:30 ET to reflect responses from JPMorgan and ConsenSys on requests for comment.) 

Amy Castor has more than 20 years' experience in journalism. Her work on crypto and blockchain has appeared in consumer and trade publications throughout the U.S., including CoinDesk, Forbes, Bitcoin Magazine, and The Block.