JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon recently made headlines when he referred to Bitcoin as a “fraud”:
No, the answer is Jamie Dimon, who in an angry outburst during the same conference in which he preannounced JPM’s 20% trading revenue drop, lashed out at the cryptocurrency, calling it a “fraud” which is “worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well”, will “blow up” and “someone is going to get killed.” Oh, and in conclusion, “any trader trading bitcoin” will be “fired for being stupid.”
- DIMON: BITCOIN IS A “FRAUD”; “WORSE THAN TULIP BULBS”
- DIMON: BITCOIN WILL EVENTUALLY BLOW UP
- DIMON: BITCOIN WON’T END WELL
- DIMON: WOULD FIRE ANY TRADER TRADING BITCOIN FOR BEING STUPID
Which is indeed right in line with his comments from November of 2015…
— RenegadeinvestorUK (@sharkybit) September 12, 2017
…but not exactly in line with the conduct of his firm’s employees, who were listed as the 4th biggest buyer of a Bitcoin ETF in Sweden:
‘Bitcoin Tracker One – SEK’ is an open-end Exchange Traded Note incorporated in Sweden. The ETN is denominated in SEK and provides investors with access to the returns of the underlying asset, US Dollar per bitcoin, less investor fees. The average USD exchange rate of bitcoin from the exchanges:- Bitfinex, Bitstamp and GDAX provides the underlying reference price which is converted into SEK.
In the last few days – as the underlying price collapsed – the ETN has remained bid, with heavy inflows, and now trades at around 20% premium to Net Asset Value…
And guess who has been buying?
JPMorgan Securities was the 4th biggest buyer…
— I am Nomad (@IamNomad) September 15, 2017
Now, JPMorgan is a massive “investment” bank, and all would be well in the world if Dimon stood by his words and fired the traders who either a) bought for the bank’s account, or b) bought on behalf of clients in complete disregard of Dimon’s directive.
Alas, you should expect the traders involved to keep their jobs, because Dimon’s statements appear to be far more duplicitous than was previously implied. JPMorgan has its own blockchain project in effect, called Quorum, which just so happens to be… based on Bitcoin’s cousin, Ethereum:
JPMorgan is even working on its own blockchain project, Quorum, which is built on the publicly accessible Ethereum network.
And, if you take a closer look at Quorum itself…
…you’ll notice that the firm has been involved in its development since July of 2015, well before Dimon’s original comments referring to Bitcoin as a bubble. And, in case you weren’t aware of Ethereum’s performance relative to Bitcoin…
Presumably, Mr. Dimon doesn’t think Ethereum, whose value is up more than 2,000 percent over the last year, is also a modern version of tulip mania.
…the cryptocurrency underpinning JPMorgan’s platform is far more “bubble-y” and closer to “tulip mania” than Bitcoin; as of this article’s publication, Bitcoin was up ~410% year to date, while its cousin Ethereum was up ~3600% year to date. The “spread” between the two has narrowed so considerably, some have speculated that Ethereum might overtake Bitcoin in the near future.
And yet, this is the cryptocurrency Dimon has JPMorgan so heavily invested in, in spite of his commentary referring to cryptocurrency as “worse than tulip bulbs” which will “eventually blow up.” Don’t you worry though; saying one thing and doing another is more than likely how Dimon has remained as chairman and CEO of JPMorgan for over ten years… and also why he’s “richer than you”:
To be fair, I’m unsure what to make of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all cryptocurrencies – they could end up being infinitely more valuable than the US Dollar and other government-issued currencies by completely supplanting them, the basis for “Satoshi” developing Bitcoin in the first place. However, they could just as easily (if not far more easily) wind up worthless.
Seeing the both the utility of crypto and the manic nature of the crypto markets, I own small sums of several, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, as both long-term “investments” and short-term speculative plays. The crypto market is a wild beast, and what goes up must come down; therefore, I have not gone “all-in” on the currencies, investing and trading only small amounts of funds which I am “willing” to lose, owing to the risky nature of these markets as well as the “new-ness” of all cryptocurrencies.
I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you if cryptocurrency values are all going to the moon, or destined to wind up on trading the pink sheets. However, I’m also not Jamie Dimon; the JPMorgan CEO who is preaching to you from his ivory tower about how Bitcoin will wind up worthless, in spite of the fact that he been not only completely wrong about that statement, but overseeing his firm’s not-so-silent investment in cryptocurrencies. Bloomberg, another billionaire’s establishment, did a fantastic job of contextualizing Dimon’s comments:
Asking a bank CEO what he thinks of bitcoin is like asking the head of the post office what he thinks of e-mail.
Perhaps Dimon is worried that Bitcoin will undermine JPMorgan’s own cryptocurrency “investments”?