Earlier this year, Elizabeth Stark, CEO of cryptocurrency development startup Lightning Labs, famously said that the industry had begun to enter a “bitcoin not blockchain” era as mainstream firms came to recognize the value of cryptocurrency technology. Not everyone, however, is ready to hop off the “blockchain not bitcoin” train.
Speaking with the Harvard Business Review, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon attempted to brush off a question on the topic, stating that he “probably shouldn’t” talk about cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, he proved unable to let the subject die without taking a sideways jab at bitcoin by emphasizing his enduring support for blockchain, a “real” technology.
“I probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency. But it’s not the same as gold or fiat currencies. Those are supported by law, police, courts. They’re not replicable, and there are strictures on them. Blockchain, on the other hand, is real. We’re testing it and will use it for a whole lot of things.”
Dimon -- perhaps the legacy financial industry’s most well-known bitcoin bear -- last addressed the subject in June, when, joined in an interview by fellow crypto-skeptic Warren Buffett, he simply advised investors to “beware.”
In previous statements, however, the investment banking chief was far more verbose, at various times castigating bitcoin as a “fraud” and lambasting its supporters as “stupid” for investing in an asset that is “worth nothing.”
Dimon ultimately walked back some of those more colorful epithets, a move that correlated with his firm quietly taking a less hostile approach to bitcoin -- its decision to bar clients from using JPMorgan-issued credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency notwithstanding.
As CCN reported, sources have said that JPMorgan has tasked the head of its fintech program with developing strategies that involve the firm helping its clients invest in the cryptocurrency market.
JPMorgan analysts have also published a report concluding that cryptocurrency is unlikely to disappear, and the bank moreover listed this burgeoning asset class as a threat to its business model in its latest annual report.
Featured Image from Flickr/Fortune Global Forum