Although this project is clearly not intended to have an impact on individual investors, it’s not difficult to see how the lack of decentralization within the USC project would rile crypto purists. While this is certainly a big step forward for crypto and blockchain usage in the financial world, it’s hardly the democratic transformation that many in the crypto community have long been anticipating.

What are the prospects for impact?

Back in August 2017, Bloomberg’s Carline Hyde discussed the early signs of a thaw in relations between the crypto sector and banking:

“They’re tightening up on cybersecurity and this is where I think it gets interesting because banks have been slightly worried about the cryptocurrency speculation because a lot of it has been linked to not quite above board behaviour. But now the fear of fraud has been cut out and they’re really starting to show an area of growth and underlying efficiency for banks and huge disruption could occur for the financial industry.”

Although USC is not yet operational, Noonan said that this is definitely a project to monitor as it has major potential to disrupt the banking industry:

“Because you have big banks in there that allows them to achieve a level of critical mass. I think if this does in fact make trading safer and faster, it’s hard to see why other banks wouldn’t want to get involved. I think we should watch this space and we might be surprised how impactful this ends up being”

Fnality told Cointelegraph through email that, although there is widespread support for the initiative, a few hurdles still lie ahead for the USC project:

“The central banks are aware of this initiative. Connecting use cases to each currency easily; that work is ahead of us, coordinating and orchestrating with both our shareholders and potential business partners, such as exchanges and trading venues to connect them to USC.”

KBC Senior General Manager ICT Rudi Peeters, also stated that KBC, one of Fnality’s founding shareholders, is bullish on blockchain:

“Blockchain is a magnificent technology that has the potential to disrupt every existing business model. Being a threat on the one hand, it offers huge opportunities on the other hand. For the financial world, realizing cash on ledger is a true milestone.”

JPMorgan Chase wields a rival coin

As blockchain and crypto solutions come in from the cold, other financial institutions are starting to implement coin initiatives. U.S. banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced it will launch its own cryptocurrency in an interview with CNBC on Feb. 14.

Read more on this: Ordinary Stablecoin or XRP Killer? What We Know About JPMorgan Chase’s New Cryptocurrency

The token, dubbed “JPM Coin,” seems set to provide USC with some competition, as the multinational bank reported that its coin will focus on improving settlement efficiency. It appears that JPM Coin will first tackle settlements between major corporations, which also suffer from a similarly convoluted settlement process using the existing options, such as the SWIFT international payment network.

Umar Farooq, who is responsible for JPM’s blockchain focus, was optimistic about the potential for an increase in blockchain implementation at the bank:

“So anything that currently exists in the world, as that moves onto the blockchain, this would be the payment leg for that transaction. The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this.”

For now, it seems that JPM Coin’s usage will be limited to settlements, treasury services and securities transactions. However, Farooq mentioned that it could be worked into other areas of the company’s activities some time in the future. For now, only a relatively small amount of the total funds involved in the three areas will use JPM Coin. According to Farooq, “The applications are frankly quite endless; anything where you have a distributed ledger which involves corporations or institutions can use this.”