JPMorgan & Chase Co. CEO Jamie Dimon called crypto “a complete sideshow” and likened the digital asset tokens to “pet rocks.”
The comments came during a CNBC interview in which he also disparaged the media outlet for its extensive coverage of the crypto industry.
Regulators should focus on crypto, not banks
Dimon said the Bitcoin and altcoin market caps, referring to the former’s monetary value as representative of the whole industry.
“So Bitcoin is worth under a trillion dollars today, and we’re not sure that’s a real market, by the way.”
To further support his stance on the matter, Dimon turned to the purported prevalence of illicit activity within the industry, including cybercrime, exchange tokens, and tax avoidance.
“There’s 20 to 30 billion of ransomware that we know about, 20 to 30 billion of exchange coins that we know about, lots of AML, terrorist financing, tax avoidance, sex trafficking, why do we allow this stuff to take place?”
With that, he called on regulators to focus their attention on the crypto industry, and not on the banks.
JPMorgan betting on crypto?
In 2017, Dimon appeared to soften his stance toward crypto by acknowledging that many of JPMorgan’s clients have an investment interest in the sector.
“They disagree [with me]. That’s what makes markets. So, if they want to have access to buy yourself bitcoin, we can’t custody it but we can give them legitimate, as clean as possible, access.”
In November, JPMorgan signaled its support for the crypto industry by completing its first cross-border transaction on Polygon.
The transfer was part of a pilot program overseen by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, which also involved DBS Bank and SBI Digital Asset Holdings, for the purpose of exploring potential DeFi use cases in the wholesale funding markets.
The move was widely acknowledged as traditional finance coming around to the idea of using decentralized finance as a tool for modernizing international monetary trade.
But going back to Dimon’s recent CNBC comments, the pilot program was likely sanctioned through gritted teeth, rather than motivated by a strong belief in the benefits of crypto.