Over the last year, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, the largest bank in the global finance sector with a market valuation of over $367 billion, has publicly expressed his opposition to bitcoin, falsely describing the cryptocurrency as a fraud and a money laundering tool.
Ari Paul, the co-founder at Blocktower Capital, a cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund,explained during an interview with Business Insiderthat Dimon insisted on calling bitcoin a fraud in the past because it penetrates and disrupts institutional and offshore banking, which JPMorgan has dominated for the past decade.
Since bitcoin can serve the offshore banking industry and transfer wealth at a cheaper price than JPMorgan, Paul explained that bank executives like Dimon feel the need to reject the cryptocurrency.
Paul also noted that Dimon possibly understands the technology and potential of bitcoin better than himself, but has purposely condemned bitcoin because he considers bitcoin as a threat to the global banking industry and offshore banking market.
On December 9th, in a statement to CNBC, Dimon began to warm to the cryptocurrency market, explaining that he is now open-minded to the uses when regulated.
“Look, everyone has a personal opinion about Bitcoin. I remain highly skeptical of it. But, as I’ve said previously, I’m open-minded to uses of cryptocurrencies if properly controlled and regulated.”
Dimon’s statement follows a comment from JPMorgan’s global market strategist Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou who noted that the launch of bitcoin futures by major financial institutions including the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and CME Group, two of the world’s largest options exchanges, will add legitimacy to bitcoin and increase the appeal of the cryptocurrency market to institutional investors.
Panigirtzoglou further emphasized that bitcoin futures will elevate the cryptocurrency to an emerging asset class, sharing a similar sentiment as CME Group chairman Leo Melamed.
“In all, the prospective introduction of bitcoin futures has the potential to elevate cryptocurrencies to an emerging asset class. The value of this new asset class is a function of the breadth of its acceptance as a store of wealth and as a means of payment and simply judging by other stores of wealth such as gold, cryptocurrencies have the potential to grow further from here,” said Panigirtzoglou.
This week, JPMorgan also announced that the company will likely clear bitcoin futures on behalf of its clients by late December, upon the listing of bitcoin futures by CBOE and CME.
While bitcoin remains as a major threat against the global banking system and key players within the finance sector such as JPMorgan, the failure of several banks to adopt bitcoin and address the rapidly growing demand for the cryptocurrency will ultimately result in isolation, especially if other leading financial institutions like Goldman Sachs pursue their initial plans to provide support to their clients around bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.