The CEO of the financial services company JP Morgan Chase “regrets” statements he made in September of 2017 when he publicly denounced bitcoin as being fraud. His accusations included claiming that the craze was worse than the much-referenced tulip bulb frenzy, and threatening to fire anyone “stupid enough to trade bitcoin.” Nonetheless, JP Morgan’s firms began openly trading bitcoin when futures were launched.
Now in January 2018, the embarrassed CEO is forced to recant the statements he made, likely having spent much time wishing he could eat his words, having created an army of enemies after calling people who buy bitcoin stupid.
“The blockchain is real,” Dimon admitted to Fox Business. “You can have cryptodollars in yen and stuff like that. ICOs [you] got to look at every one individually.”
ICOs, or initial coin offerings, are a new and highly-effective method of raising funds primarily used by start-up businesses. In a process similar to crowdfunding, members of the public contribute to the fund in exchange for cryptocurrency tokens that are unique to the company or the project. In most instances, ICOs are supported by the Ethereum blockchain.
Jamie Dimon used the following statements on January 9, 2018, as a means of explaining his initial stance on the cryptocurrency:
“The bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people.”
He continued by announcing that he is “not interested that much in the subject at all.”
The CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, publicly lauded Dimon for his retraction, expressing that it was big of Dimon to admit that he was wrong.
“The importance of education in action: lots of FUD [fear, uncertainty, doubt] around crypto that is unfounded because the loudest voices aren’t always the best informed,” tweeted Garlinghouse. “Always glad to see when someone has the fortitude to admit their mistake.”
NY Times bestselling author James G Rickards has a contrasting opinion, instead still agreeing with Dimon’s original statement.
“This is the only topic where I agree with Jamie Dimon. When he says, ‘It’s a Ponzi,’ I agree completely. I call it a Ponzi with no one in charge,” Rickards said to Keith McCullough, CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management. The full interview for this discussion can be viewed here.
2017 was a defining year for Bitcoin, seeing the cryptocurrency begin under $1,000 and finish over $14,000 after hitting a peak of close to $20,000. Although there is still much debate on its future, the attention of many investors has shifted away from Bitcoin, instead focusing on other cryptocurrencies and the future applications of blockchain technology.
Interestingly, JP Morgan Chase remains among them through the development of the company’s blockchain technology, Quorum. One can expect that this will not be the last time that Jamie Dimon or JP Morgan Chase make cryptocurrency headlines.