Jamie Dimon is the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase - the largest banking institution in the United States and one of the largest in the world. As America’s most prominent bankers, Dimon’s opinions on financial matters are undoubtedly taken with seriousness.
But, last month, the billionaire CEO continued his campaign against cryptocurrencies - particularly Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Won’t Be a Viable Currency For Long
Speaking at the annual membership meeting organized by the Institute of International Finance last month, Dimon asserted that Bitcoin is “worthless.” According to a CNBC report, the bank CEO had been taking questions from news reporters and audience members. When the questions pivoted to the possibility of cryptocurrencies rising and becoming a more respected and inclusive currency.
Dimon, who has never particularly been a fan of cryptocurrencies, explained that there is no way that Bitcoin would become on the same playing field as, say, the American dollar. He added:
"It’s just not going to happen. I mean, you’re wasting your time. When the DOJ calls you up and says, ‘That’s an illegal currency, and if you do it again, we’ll put you in jail,’ it’s over. This is my personal opinion - there will be no real, non-controlled currency in the world. There’s no government that’s going to put up with it for long.”
Interestingly, Dimon hasn’t been completely anti-crypto. He explained that there will definitely be applications for blockchain technology, with the concept having the potential to “be real.” The same goes for stablecoins - cryptocurrencies that are pegged to the American dollar. However, no government will want to deal with a currency that can’t be controlled or monitored.
Dimon’s Long Beef With Crypto
Dimon has never been shy about his disdain for cryptocurrencies. When digital assets first broke into the limelight and started to gain mainstream adoption, Dimon was one of the most prominent voices in the financial space to speak out against them.
In 2017, Dimon remarked at the Delivering Alpha conference that Bitcoin is a “fraud.” The CEO explained that the cryptocurrency would eventually blow up, especially with the coin not “having a real purpose.”
Dimon has not particularly changed his views on Bitcoin. In fact, he appears to have doubled down. He recently told Axios chief executive Jim VandeHei that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value, and that regulators would eventually regulate it into oblivion.
As Dimon explained, there’s no denying the fact that Bitcoin would be here in the long term. However, it would eventually be made illegal - like in China. Even if the U.S. government allows Bitcoin to stay in the country, regulators would have a field day keeping it under wraps and reducing its appeal to the many who are invested in it.
“You can't regulate everything a bank does in terms of moving money and not regulate what you would call money. You can call it a security or an asset or something like that, but if people are using it for tax avoidance and sex trafficking and ransomware, it's going to be regulated, whether you like it or not," Dimon added.
JPMorgan’s CEO Doesn’t Influence JPMorgan
Interestingly, none of this has dissuaded JPMorgan Chase from making inroads in the blockchain and crypto spaces. The company launched its JPMCoin in 2019, using the coin to make instant settlements for its institutional clients. The JPMCoin is a dollar-pegged stablecoin, and it is only available to a select few clients of JPMorgan Chase.
Even better, JPMorgan has also allowed its investors to purchase digital assets. In August, the bank partnered with the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) to offer access to six Bitcoin funds. These include the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, Ethereum Trust, and Ethereum Classic Trust from Grayscale Investments, as well as the Osprey Bitcoin Trust.
Despite this, the reports suggested that JPMorgan Chase would only offer access to these crypto funds to investors who request them. The Osprey and Grayscale Funds are open to all users, regardless of their wealth management platforms. As for NYDIG, the company’s Bitcoin trust is only available to private banks and their clients.
Speaking on the divergence between his views and that of his bank, Dimon explained that he understands JPMorgan’s need to serve its clients.
“I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless. Our clients are adults, they disagree, that’s what makes markets, so if they want to have access to buy yourself Bitcoin, we can’t custody it but we can give them legitimate, as-clean-as-possible access,” he said.
It is interesting to see how Dimon retains his anti-crypto views even though JPMorgan moves on into the industry. The billionaire CEO has explained that the banks will continue to serve the needs of all clients - even the crypto-loving ones. But, even if Bitcoin’s value rises ten times, Dimon has claimed that he would never purchase or invest in it.