JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who has long been a critic of cryptocurrencies, made it clear to lawmakers that his opinion hasn’t changed, at least on one type of them, according to news reports.
“I’m a major skeptic on crypto tokens, which you call currency, like Bitcoin,” Dimon said in congressional testimony before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg and Barron’s. “They are decentralized Ponzi schemes, and the notion that it’s good for anybody is unbelievable.”
Dimon also called crypto tokens “dangerous,” pointing to their potential use in money-laundering and sex-trafficking and the billions of dollars stolen through crypto-based fraud, according to Barron’s.
However, Barron's noted that the CEO took a “slightly softer” tone on stablecoins, which are also digital tokens but with their value tied to another currency or other financial assets.
Asked about a draft bill on that digital asset, “Dimon said he believes that there is nothing wrong with stablecoins that are properly regulated and that the regulation should be similar to what money market funds are subject to,” according to Cointelegraph.com.
Dimon has been a vocal critic of cryptocurrencies for years: In 2017, the CEO called Bitcoin “a fraud” and said that he would fire anyone trading it.
In 2018, Dimon said he regretted making that comment, but last year he said that Bitcoin was “worthless.”
His firm has taken a slightly different approach.
In July last year, JPMorgan Asset and Wealth Management CEO Mary Callahan Erdoes said it was the firm’s “job” to help its clients “where they want to invest,” and that many of them said they wanted to do so in digital assets.
The same month, the company told its financial advisors in a memo that they could trade in five cryptocurrency products on behalf of wealth management clients.
And in October 2020, JPMorgan rolled out an in-house stablecoin, “making it the first cryptocurrency backed by a U.S. bank,” according to Cointelegraph.com.
JPMorgan also added 63 crypto-related jobs as of November 2021, as its rivals — including Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, UBS, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs — have also bolstered their crypto-related ranks.