Earlier today, during a Senate Banking Committee hearing (“Annual Oversight of Wall Street Firms”), Jamie Dimon, the Chairman of the Board and CEO of global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co., expressed strong opposition to cryptocurrencies, suggesting the government should consider shutting down the entire industry. He raised concerns about crypto’s ability to bypass government controls and its potential appeal to bad actors.
“I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, etc … If I was the government, I’d close it down.“
Dimon’s criticism aligns with his past comments on digital assets, including urging individuals to avoid Bitcoin and advocating for stricter regulations on stablecoins.
These remarks come amid heightened scrutiny of the crypto industry in Washington. According to a report by Sarah Wynn for The Block, Senator Elizabeth Warren is pushing for the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, which aims to extend Know Your Customer (KYC) rules to various players within the crypto space.
During the hearing, Warren questioned Dimon and several other bank CEOs, including Charles Scharf (Wells Fargo), Brian Moynihan (Bank of America), and David Solomon (Goldman Sachs), about their stance on crypto regulations. All four CEOs expressed unanimous support for imposing the same anti-money laundering rules on crypto as traditional financial institutions.
Highlighting the unusual unity on this issue, Warren stated that while she rarely agrees with CEOs of multibillion-dollar banks, this is a matter of national security that requires collaboration.
On January 19, 2023, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the JPMorgan CEO participated in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” During the interview, conducted by co-anchors Joe Kernen, Becky Quick, and Andrew Ross Sorkin, Dimon, a noted critic of cryptocurrencies, shared his harsh opinions on Bitcoin and other digital assets, contrasting them with his more positive view of blockchain technology.
Dimon began by expressing his strong dislike for Bitcoin:
“Why you guys waste any breath on this is totally beyond me… Bitcoin itself is a hyped-up fraud. It’s a pet rock…“
He then differentiated his position on Bitcoin from his view on blockchain technology:
“Blockchain is a technology ledger system that we use to move information… We’ve used it to do overnight intraday repo… We’ve used it to move money… So that is a ledger. That’s a technology ledger type of thing that we think will be deployable, but remember we’ve been talking about that for 12 years too, and very little has been done.“
When Kernen attempted to defend Bitcoin by highlighting its distributed ledger structure, its store of value characteristics, and its limited supply of 21 million bitcoins, Dimon challenged his claims:
“Oh yeah, really? How do you know it’s going to stop at 21 million?… Everyone says that… Maybe it’s going to get to 21 million and Satoshi’s picture is going to come up and laugh at you all… And by then, Satoshi will have taken billions of dollars.“
Dimon also commented on the collapse of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, echoing his previous criticisms of it as a “decentralized Ponzi scheme”:
“I’m not surprised at all. I called it a decentralized Ponzi scheme. The hype around this thing has been extraordinary. It’s outrageous. Regulations should have stopped this a long time ago… People lost billions of dollars.“