JPMorgan has announced a significant milestone, revealing that it successfully conducted its inaugural live blockchain-based collateral settlement transaction involving BlackRock and Barclays. This transaction utilized JPMorgan’s Ethereum-based Onyx blockchain and the bank’s Tokenized Collateral Network (TCN).
BlackRock employed this system to tokenize shares from one of its money market funds, which were subsequently transferred to Barclays Plc to serve as collateral in an over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives trade.
The tokenization of traditional financial assets represents a significant development for banks, and JPMorgan has been at the forefront of this initiative. Other major players, such as Citi, are also making strides in this space.
JPMorgan’s Blockchain Collateral Settlement
The TCN application facilitated the conversion of shares from one of BlackRock’s money market funds into digital tokens. According to Tyrone Lobban, the head of Onyx Digital Assets at JPMorgan, these tokens were swiftly transferred to Barclays as collateral for an over-the-counter derivatives trade.
The tokenization process took only a matter of minutes, enabled by the connectivity between the fund’s Transfer Agent and TCN, as stated in the press release by JPMorgan. The near-instantaneous transfer between BlackRock and Barclays marks a significant milestone for all three entities involved, as it represents the first instance of money market fund shares being utilized as collateral between bilateral derivatives counterparts.
Lobban highlighted that Onyx Digital Assets enables clients to access intraday liquidity via repo transactions. With the launch of TCN, clients can benefit from additional utility from their MMF investments by posting tokenized MMF shares as collateral – a faster, more cost-effective way of meeting margin requirements, he added.
JPMorgan Spearheads Tokenization
Since the TCN application is live, JPMorgan has a pipeline of other clients and transactions, according to Lobban. Notably, the bank conducted an internal transaction to test TCN in May.
Advocates of blockchain technology argue that its use will simplify the process for financial institutions to utilize their shares in money-market funds as collateral. That is because they won’t need to redeem them for cash, a step required in traditional processes. This shift could lead to faster transactions and potentially reduce risks during market volatility.
Tom McGrath, Deputy Global COO of the Cash Management Group at BlackRock, emphasized that tokenizing money market fund shares as collateral in clearing and margin transactions would dramatically reduce the operational friction in meeting margin calls when market segments face acute margin pressures.
In addition to TCN, JPMorgan also operates JPM Coin, a system enabling wholesale clients to conduct dollar and euro-denominated payments through a blockchain network. From its launch until June of that year, the bank processed approximately $300 billion through this system. JPMorgan also oversees a blockchain-based repo application and is exploring a digital deposit token to expedite cross-border settlements.
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