Spiteful it may be, but few of us can resist saying, “I told you so,” when we’re proven right after all, even though the other party fought tooth and nail to convince us otherwise. So when the crypto world heard that JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has turned tail on Bitcoin, there was reason to be smug.
The Back Story of JPMorgan vs Bitcoin
In the last quarter of 2017, Invest in Blockchain reported on Dimon’s callous remark that “Bitcoin is a fraud”. It saw the crypto market spinning into disarray, and bitcoin dropped in price.
“It’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” Dimon said. “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”
In our article, we looked at several discrepancies between his outspokenness and JPMorgan’s involvement in the technology. These included – whether intentional or not – a Bitcoin exchange-traded note buy-up by JPMorgan at a much lower price the day following Damon’s FUD remark, the bank’s Bitcoin patent applications dating back to 2013, their Quorum system, a blockchain-based hyperledger built on Ethereum, their blockchain trial in conjunction with former head of commodities employee Blythe Masters, and another former employee, Daniel Masters, who left the company to join a Bitcoin hedge fund.
The Winklevoss Dare
The Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler, the world’s first-reported Bitcoin millionaires, publicly challenged Dimon in mid-December 2017:
We’ve been working really hard to give Jamie Dimon an opportunity to short bitcoin, and anybody who says that you know, it’s a fraud or a bubble, you can go now [and] put your money where your mouth is, and bet against it. We encourage Jamie Dimon, we encourage him to personally bet against it, bitcoin, take J.P. Morgan’s balance sheet, bet against bitcoin. We’ll see what happens.
JPMorgan Moves to Analyze Bitcoin Futures Volatility
In light of the promise made that he would “fire in a second” any JPMorgan employee trading cryptocurrency, it’s curious that Dimon’s team of strategists were investigating the volatility of trading Bitcoin futures, including analyzing the mining yield discounted by the cost of mining.
Correction: Bitcoin Ain’t a Fraud, It’s Real
On January 9, 2018, Dimon once again took the markets by surprise by taking an entirely opposite position from his initial Bitcoin aversion.
In an interview with Fox Business, Dimon admitted that he “regrets making” his September 2017 comment.
The blockchain is real. You can have cryptodollars in yen and stuff like that. ICOs … you got to look at every one individually. The bitcoin was always to me what the governments are going to feel about bitcoin when it gets really big.
The Way Forward
With bank-friendly Ripple shooting up in value and the New York Stock Exchange’s application to start trading Bitcoin exchange-traded funds, it’s clear that traditional financial institutions are quietly – and sometimes not so quietly – starting to clamor to get on board. It’s an interesting phenomenon for a technology that was originally designed to bypass these financial avenues.
What will 2018 hold for cryptocurrencies versus fiat institutions? Let’s wait and find out.