JPMorgan has posted a new job ad looking for a candidate with bitcoin tech know-how, but the investment banking giant is vehemently sticking to its "blockchain, not bitcoin" mantra.
In the job posting for a developer at the director level, the firm said it is looking for someone with experience in bitcoin scaling solutions — such as Lightning — as well as other blockchain-related topics. But the firm unequivocally asserts the new hire wouldn't be doing anything with cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, in an email to The Block.
"It would be completely inaccurate to say or report that we are possibly exploring or considering doing any work with bitcoin or other public crypto currencies," a spokesperson for the New York-based firm said. "We are not – I hope I’m being totally clear."
Still, a candidate with "experience" in topics such as Lightning, a layer-two bitcoin solution, and Bitcoin conditionalized transactions could be useful for the further development of its already public businesses in blockchain, the company said. The bank operates its own private blockchain for enterprises, called Quorum, as well as its own stablecoin-like digital asset, JPMCoin.
To be sure, JPMorgan has been vocally anti-cryptocurrency for years, CEO Jamie Dimon at one point calling bitcoin a 'fraud.' Still, some insiders questioned the value of seeking a developer with a bitcoin scaling background given the specific projects they’re working on.
Indeed, at first glance, the ad looks like the company might be exploring new opportunities.
"They listed all these primitive tech solutions that developers are exploring across bitcoin," a former payments equity analyst said. "You have to assume they'll find a way to leverage that stuff with an enterprise solution."
These types of solutions to help scale bitcoin are certainly picking up steam, and have been well-documented by The Block. For instance, timelocks, a type of conditionalized transaction, allow users to lock bitcoins, making them un-spendable until a specific time. They provide the infrastructure for a variety of smart contracts and projects built on Bitcoin such as Lightning Network, which grew to a total network capacity of $2 million at the beginning of the year. Liquid, a so-called side-chain solution, launched at the end of last year to speed up bitcoin transactions and make them more affordable.
Meanwhile, JPMorgan's cross-town rival Goldman Sachs continues to test the waters in bitcoin markets. It held talks with BitGo last year to white-label its bitcoin custody product, and it currently trades non-deliverable forwards and futures tied to bitcoin for its clients. Broker TDAmeritrade recently launched a new cryptocurrency unit, led by Sunayna Tuteja, head of digital assets at the firm.