Former JPMorgan Blockchain Head Says Focus Should Be On Privacy

(Bloomberg) -- Amber Baldet, the former head of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s blockchain program, isn’t revealing her next gig, but at a conference Monday it became clear that her focus is on privacy.

“We should be focusing on creating a privacy preserving system that gives us the option to create something that might be disruptive,” Baldet said at the MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain conference. Blockchains as they exist today don’t allow users to own data, selectively disclose it and get paid for it, she said.

Baldet, who worked at JPMorgan for six years bridging big finance with cutting edge technologies, said that corporations have continued to work on blockchain applications, even if it seems that the initial flood of press releases have died down.

“In the short term, the industries that are working on incorportating distributed ledger technologies are finance, supply chain, and places where you can mutualize work flow and cooperate by mutualizing infrastructure, not just trying to disentermediate everyone,” she said.

Solving the privacy question will be key to blockchain adoption across corporations, according to Baldet, who helped built JPMorgan’s enterprise blockchain platform Quorum before leaving earlier this year. She dedicated a chunk of her presentation to zero-knowledge cryptography, or technology that allows one party to verify specific data, without the other party having to disclose anything outside of that information. For example, a car dealer can know whether a customer earns more than a certain level, but won’t know the client’s exact salary.

“Something enterprise learned early was that keeping the secret sauce of your business logic private is very important,” Baldet said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.