JPMorgan May Create a Virtual Currency That Rivals Bitcoin

The megabank tries to get in on the virtual cash craze

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Mark Lennihan / AP

JPMorgan Chase has filed a U.S. patent application for a computerized payment system that resembles the virtual currency Bitcoin, the Financial Times reports.

As more people make their purchases online, banks, credit card companies and tech companies are all hoping to capitalize on the quickly expanding business of mobile and online payments. Bitcoin rose this year as the most prominent virtual cash system, storing its users’ cash in computer files. The price of Bitcoin shares soared to over $1,240 the day after Thanksgiving (a 9,000% gain¬†for the year), and its new virtual currency may one day challenge the traditional payment systems of big credit card companies and banks.

JPMorgan’s patent application (which was updated from a 1999 version) says that its new payment system will compete with with credit and debit cards for online transactions. It mimics a few features from BitCoin: JPMorgan’s system involves creating “virtual cash” that will sit in an online wallet. Each transaction will be saved in a public record of transactions, similar to Bitcoin’s “blockchain.”

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