Back in 2015, something marvelous happened: JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and a bunch of other major banks managed to put aside their petty differences to join hands in a joyous partnership called R3 CEV, which would leverage wondrous new blockchain technology – that of bitcoin fame – to become “to finance what the internet was to media.” Two years later, the old banking giants who formed the bulk of the alliance have finally managed to figure out what the hell blockchain is and does. Accordingly, they're bolting.
"JPMorgan parted ways with R3 to pursue a very distinct technology path which is at odds with the one chosen by the global financial services industry, represented by our 80-plus members," said Charley Cooper, a managing director at R3.
Compare that send-off with the relatively benign one that greeted Goldman…
“Developing technology like this requires dedication and significant resources, and our diverse pool of members all have different capacities and capabilities which naturally change over time,” he said in an email.
…and it begins to seem like R3's dream of becoming the paradigm-blasting, epochal disruptor of financial intermediation might be fading a bit.
But what R3 founder and CEO David Rutter has lost, our old friend Blythe Masters has gained. It was she who has managed to teach pretentious luddite Jamie Dimon a thing or two about blockchain in the course of getting JPMorgan onboard her own blockchain startup. And Dimon's not the only one who's heard the transfixing siren song of Digital Asset Holdings – fellow R3 refugees Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have also invested with the Masters. Apparently blockchain is only palatable to Wall Street if you can find someone who speaks the language.
N.B.: Do not fuck with Blythe Masters.