Quorum, JP Morgan’s enterprise version of Ethereum, has a new leader. Oliver Harris is a 29-year-old Cambridge graduate based in London. He also leads the bank’s Crypto-Assets Strategy. Harris’ background is in strategy. Unlike his predecessor, he is not a developer. He started in strategy at JP Morgan four years ago after a three-year stint as a strategy consultant at Accenture.
Amber Baldet who previously led the Quorum team and was the Blockchain Program Lead, recently left to found a startup, Clovyr. Her role as Blockchain Program Lead was taken over by Christine Moy.
Harris’ previous role at JP Morgan was Head of FinTech & InResidence. In other words, he looked after their innovation strategy and built relationships with VCs, startups, and universities.
Given the recent rumors that JP Morgan is looking to divest Quorum, Harris’ role may be to find a new home for it. Alternatively, perhaps to create a new startup around it. Three things point to this.
Firstly his previous role makes him well connected to create a startup team or find relevant backers. Secondly, he’s a strategy guy, so he’s probably already come up with a plan. Thirdly he’s based in London whereas the rest of the Quorum team is in New York.
Having an open source software project in-house is not a natural fit for JP Morgan, especially as corporate clients need proper tech support.
However, it’s crucial that JP Morgan clarify Quorum’s future quickly because the uncertainty could discourage adoption.