Multinational investment banking JPMorgan is “looking into” cryptocurrencies, company co-president Daniel Pinto said.
Pinto made this revelation during a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, explaining that although the firm is not optimistic about cryptocurrency in its current incarnation, it believes this technology will “play a role” in the financial system moving forward.
“We are looking into that space. I have no doubt that in one way or another, the technology will play a role. [Regarding bitcoin], you cannot have something where the business proposition is to be anonymous and to be the currency for unknown activities. That will have a very short life, because people will stop believing in it, or the regulators will kill it. I think the concept is valid, you have many central banks looking into. The tokenization of the economy, for me, is real. Cryptocurrencies are real but not in the current form.”
Bitcoin is not anonymous, of course, though this is a common misconception propagated by critics.
Even so, Pinto said that JPMorgan may begin clearing bitcoin futures for its brokerage clients, which it has thus far refused to do even as trading volumes for these products have soared.
“If we need to clear futures of bitcoin, can we do it? Yes. Have we done it? No,” he said.
Wall Street rival Goldman Sachs recently announced that it would create bitcoin futures-type product for its clients, while the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is reportedly considering listing “physical bitcoin” for trading on one of its platforms.
Pinto, along with fellow co-president Gordon Smith, is viewed as a likely successor to longtime JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, though the 62-year-old executive has not yet announced plans to retire.
Dimon, as CCN has reported, has long been one of bitcoin’s most vociferous critics, though he has been noticeably quiet on the matter in recent months following a veritable bitcoin-bashing world tour in which he denigrated the flagship cryptocurrency in interviews conducted on at least three different continents.
“I could care less what bitcoin trades for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it. If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day," he said in one set of particularly memorable remarks. It can “trade at $100,000,” but it will eventually crash to zero. “Governments are going to crush it."
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