In an interview with the Harvard Business Review (July–August 2018 Issue), Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S. said that he “probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency” when asked for his view on cryptocurrency.
As part of the interview, 62-year-old Dimon, who has been CEO of JPMorgan (JPM) for over 12 years, was asked what he considers to be the chief competitive threat to the bank. He replied:
“The biggest potential disruption to our business is new forms of payment. You have PayPal, Venmo, Alipay, and more. These companies are doing a good job of embedding basic banking services in their chats, their social, their shopping experience.”
He was also asked by Harvard Business Review (HBR) for his current view on cryptocurrency, and reminded of what he had said about Bitcoin in the past, before letting him answer the question. In case you have not heard what Dimon has said about Bitcoin, or you have forgotten, here is a quick recap:
- According to Bloomberg, on 13 September 2017, an investor conference in New York, he called Bitcoin “a fraud”, saying that it was “worse than tulip bulbs.” And if a JPMorgan trader began trading in Bitocin, he said: “I’d fire them in a second. For two reasons: It’s against our rules, and they’re stupid. And both are dangerous.” He didn’t stop there, going on to say: “If you were in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a bunch of parts like that, or if you were a drug dealer, a murderer, stuff like that, you are better off doing it in bitcoin than U.S. dollars. So there may be a market for that, but it’d be a limited market.”
- On January 2018, in an interview with FOX Business's Maria Bartiromo, said that he regretted his previous comments about Bitcoin, and expressed his faith in blockchain technology: “The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICO’s you have to look at individually. The bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”
Coming back to his recent interview with HBR, Dimon had this to say about crypto:
“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.”
Here, it is important to note that the blockchain technology Dimon is talk about is Quorum, an enterprise-focused version of Ethereum.
It seems that Dimon has recognized the silliness of his initial very negative stance on Bitcoin since he has gone from calling it a fraud to saying he is not interested in Bitcoin to realizing the wisdom of staying silent on a subject that he clearly does not understand well, even though within JPMorgan people are aware of the important of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Featured Image Credit: Courtesy of JPMorgan Chase