A big week for blockchain — but what does it mean?

This year has seen the most activity from mainstream players in the blockchain space on record, with a flurry of announcements arriving from major firms in the last week alone.

Last Friday, banking giant JP Morgan confirmed months of rumour of an in-house cryptocurrency strategy. The team is headed by fintech expert Oliver Harris, who told the press cryptocurrencies will play a “key role” in the future of global finance, signalling a strategy switch from the company only months after CEO Jamie Dimon expressed scepticism toward cryptos.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Vice President Chris Matta resigned in order to focus on a cryptocurrency-based business. Leaving a new position just days after being appointed, Matta emphasised the speed at which the blockchain space is advancing:

“The amount of things that would change in that time, the number of funds that would come to market, it would just be a much more difficult landscape for us if we were trying to get things up and running in February.”

Meanwhile, however, mainstream media outlets have shifted their attention instead to prominent sceptics. At the start of the year it was billionaire Bill Gates, who told journalists Bitcoin was only useful as a way buy drugs on the internet. This week it was legendary investor Warren Buffet’s turn, with the influential veteran stating cryptos are worthless.

The story behind these headlines that cryptocurrency scepticism is fast becoming a fringe viewpoint. While lone figures like Gates and Buffet watch from the sidelines, prominent but yesterday’s men, big companies and institutional investors alike are delving deep into blockchain research and development. At the pace this technology is developing, the sceptics may soon find themselves left far behind.