Jamie Dimon blasts crypto, tells Senate he would ‘close it down’—even as JPMorgan pushes forward with blockchain payments

In 2017, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase blasted Bitcoin as “worse than tulip bulbs” and ranted that he would fire anyone at his bank who traded it for being stupid. This was followed by other tirades, including one in January where he labeled Bitcoin a “hyped-up fraud” and compared it to a pet rock.

On Wednesday, Dimon was at it again, telling the Senate Banking Committee, “If I was the government, I’d close it down,” suggesting it has no legitimate application.

“I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, Bitcoin etc. You pointed out the true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, anti-money laundering, tax avoidance, and that is a use case because it is somewhat anonymous,” he told Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), another outspoken critic of the sector.

Dimon’s comment came after Warren observed that big banks all oversee systems to screen for terrorists, and claimed that nefarious actors like Hamas and Iran had turned to crypto as a means of subverting the Bank Secrecy Act—an allegation the crypto industry argues is badly overstated.

The hearing, which also featured the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, CitiGroup, and other big banks, was a scheduled event titled Annual Oversight of Wall Street Firms.

One of crypto’s most famous critics, alongside billionaire Warren Buffett, who once described it as “rat poison squared,” Dimon made his latest remark as crypto markets appear to have shaken off the scandals of 2022 and entered another full-throated bull market. Bitcoin, which began the year around $17,000, was trading near $44,000 on Wednesday.

There is some irony, however, to Dimon’s strident anti-crypto position since his bank has quietly become of one Wall Street’s leading innovators when it comes to blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that undergirds Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

JPMorgan’s innovations include “JPM Coin,” a digital token that is transferred on a version of the Ethereum blockchain. Created in 2017, the coin has taken off among corporate clients—including FedEx and Siemens—as a fast, safe, and low-cost way to transfer large sums. Last month, the bank disclosed that the value of daily transactions involving JPM Coin now tops $1 billion.

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