JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s views on bitcoin haven’t changed much over the past few years. For his part, Dimon still thinks one shouldn’t invest in bitcoin.
At a virtual hearing hosted by the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services on Thursday, Dimon said bitcoin is not supported by any assets and “something that’s not supported by anything I do not believe has much value.”
“My own personal advice to people is to stay away from it,” said Dimon. He was responding to a question by Ohio Representative Warren Davidson, a crypto-friendly congressman.
While Dimon’s personal views on bitcoin haven’t changed, there seems to be a notable change in his tone about it. Dimon said his opinion doesn’t mean JPMorgan clients don’t want exposure to bitcoin.
This goes back to how one has to run a business, said Dimon, giving the example of marijuana.
“I don’t smoke marijuana, but if you make it nationally legal, I’m not going to stop our people from banking it and etc.,” said Dimon. “I don’t tell people how to spend their money regardless of how I might personally feel about some of the items that people might buy with their money.”
To that end, JPMorgan is “debating” whether it should make bitcoin available in some “safe” way, said Dimon.
Eventually, Dimon thinks that regulators should step in and regulate industries such as crypto. “I do think the regulators who are a day late and a dollar short should be paying more attention to the future, payment for order flow, high-frequency trading, cryptocurrency, and put a legal, regulatory framework around it.”
Goldman and other bankers
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon also said at the hearing that there is demand for crypto from clients.
“There is no question both institutions and individuals are looking for exposure to bitcoin,” said Solomon, responding to a question from New Jersey Representative Josh Gottheimer.
Goldman Sachs, therefore, tries to provide information to clients around this “potential asset class,” said Solomon.
Earlier this month, Goldman Sachs formed a cryptocurrency trading team. And as part of its initial launch, the bank executed bitcoin non-deliverable forwards and CME bitcoin futures trades on a principal basis, all cash-settling.
But similar to JPMorgan’s Dimon, Solomon is also “extremely cautious” about bitcoin.
He said if lots of people believe in something, it can sustain value for a period of time, but bitcoin’s use cases and regulatory oversight are unclear. “There’s still a lot of work to do around this,” said Solomon.
There were other mega bankers also present at the hearing, including Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, and Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf. They all shared a similar view on crypto, saying that they are proceeding cautiously.
To that, Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer, a crypto-friendly congressman, said, “it seems to be a theme” among the bankers in attendance.
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