According to a new report, banking industry powerhouse J.P. Morgan is interested in merging its permissioned, Ethereum-based Quorum project with ConsenSys, the Ethereum development studio headed up by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin.
On February 11th, Reuters reported that sources close to the matter said a deal was likely to be finalized and unveiled within six months’ time.
If that deal does come to fruition, it’ll be interesting to see its terms. The Quorum team has just over two dozen members that could be folded into ConsenSys, for example.
Whatever form it may take, the possible deal comes after J.P. Morgan has reportedly been considering spinning out Quorum for some time. In that same span, the project has become a larger point of intrigue in the wider cryptoeconomy.
Indeed, the private Ethereum fork gained plenty of attention by association in 2019 after J.P. Morgan unveiled its JPM Coin effort and advancements to its Quorum-powered Interbank Information Network (IIN), a system aimed at helping banks validate transaction details in real-time. In 2019 the banking giant’s blockchain experts also unveiled their “Anonymous Zether” privacy tool, and Microsoft notably added Quorum support to its Azure cloud platform.
For now, ConsenSys itself has declined to comment on the specifics of a possible deal but has gone as far as acknowledging the aforementioned Reuters report.
“Will hopefully be able to share more details soon, but for now, the details in the Reuters story are all we are sharing,” a ConsenSys spokesperson commented to The Block on the news.
ConsenSys also made headlines on February 11th as its CodeFi arm, a team building out an “operating system” of Ethereum tools, revealed that SKALE Network — an Ethereum scaling project — would be the first to launch a token on Activate, CodeFi’s all-in-one token distribution platform.
Thanks to its design, Activate will help funnel good-faith participation around the SKALE Network, as users won’t be able to disinterestedly flip SKALE’s token for profit early on; rather, they will have to put those tokens to use as validators or delegate as such in order to help secure the young network.
ConsenSys founder Joseph Lubin said that SKALE had interesting potential on the scaling front and that the project could uniquely benefit from using Activate for its network launch:
“The SKALE Network is a state of the art solution, representing a configurable and low cost layer-two platform for developers to enable near instant execution of smart contracts. Activate is setting the standard for fair and maximally distributed token networks, while providing a seamless and consistent validator and user experience to ensure all participants interact meaningfully with the SKALE Network — and decentralized networks of the future.”
Likewise, SKALE’s leadership has said the collaboration should foster healthy growth for their network.
“After talking to the Activate team, it quickly became clear that their approach to managing a network launch was aligned with our core values of putting developers and the health of the network first,” said Jack O’Holleran, the SKALE project’s co-founder.
ConsenSys Just Acquired a Broker-Dealer
Last week, news broke that ConsenSys’s subsidiary ConsenSys Digital Securities LLC had bought Heritage Financial Systems, a registered broker-dealer in the U.S.
The development was a big deal for the Ethereum development studio, as it meant the company could now directly offer in-house securities consulting and broker-dealer services — the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) forbid businesses from providing these services without the requisite registrations and approvals.
Specifically, ConsenSys is reportedly interested in leveraging Heritage’s expertise to crack into the municipal bonds marketplace with tokenization solutions. Tokenizing muni bonds would open up new kinds of secondary markets for these assets, among other things.