JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he would close down crypto if he was the government during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.While Dimon has made negative comments about Bitcoin since at least 2014, JPMorgan Chase uses blockchain technology in their JPM Coin offering.Despite concerns regarding crypto regulation, the bitcoin price has been booming as anticipation for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval builds.
This week JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon expressed his opposition for cryptocurrencies and bitcoin at a Senate hearing, albeit not for the first time.
Dimon’s been making public comments about crypto since at least 2014. While he has made seemingly contrasting statements over the years, his general thesis has been unwavering.
Here’s what he has said over the years and some context around JPMorgan’s blockchain foray to help understand where Dimon actually stands on crypto.
2014: Terrible Store Of Value
Dimon has been sharing his thoughts on bitcoin (BTCUSD) and other related technologies since at least 2014.
“It’s a terrible store of value, it can be replicated over and over. It doesn’t have the standing of a government,” he told CNBC in an interview.
2017: “Fraud”, “Worse Than Tulip Bulbs”
In September 2017, Dimon called bitcoin a fraud, going as far as labeling it worse than tulip bulbs—a reference to Tulipmania or the Tulip Bulb market bubble.
“I’d fire them in a second,” Bloomberg reported Dimon saying of any JPMorgan trader trading bitcoin “For two reasons: It’s against our rules, and they’re stupid. And both are dangerous.”
2017: “God Bless The Blockchain”
Just a month later in October, JPMorgan launched its blockchain initiative to help make interbank payments.
Three days prior to that launch, Dimon talked up the potential for blockchain technology—the underlying technology for cryptocurrencies.
“I could care less about bitcoin. I don’t know why I said anything about it. The blockchain is a technology which is a good technology. We actually use it. It will be useful in a lot of different things. God bless the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, I think are also fine. JPMorgan moves $6 trillion around the world every day, and we don’t do it in cash, it’s done digitally. If it can be done digitally with the blockchain, so be it,” CNBC reported Dimon saying.
Dimon did issue a warning to investors putting money into bitcoin, however, calling them “stupid.”
At the beginning of 2018, just a few months after JPMorgan’s blockchain was launched, Dimon expressed regret over his bitcoin fraud remark from the year before in an interview with Fox Business.
2019: JPM Coin Appears
JPMorgan as an institution was taking big strides in incorporating blockchain technology into the realm of traditional finance. It experimented with its own dollar-backed digital coin akin to a stablecoin called JPM Coin for payments between clients, CNBC reported in February 2019.
The bank also made key hires and worked has grown JPM Coin, which is now said to account for a billion dollars worth of daily transactions.
2023: “Close It Down”
“I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, etc,” said Dimon in response to a question from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at a Senate hearing on Wednesday. “You pointed out the only true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, money launderers, [and] tax avoidance . . . If I was the government, I’d close it down,” he added.
During the hearing, both Dimon and Warren made the point that a problem with crypto is that it lives outside the traditional financial system, which has several safeguards in place to prevent the proliferation of illicit finance.
While lack of regulation remains a contentious issue, many traditional finance firms are beginning to put their weight behind bitcoin. Blackrock (BLK) and Fidelity have filed their applications for a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund, that is currently awaiting regulatory approvals. The optimism around the ETF has fueled a resurgence in bitcoin prices.
Blackrock has come around after harboring views similar to Dimon on bitcoin investing in 2019.
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