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JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon: 'Buyer beware' on cryptocurrencies

·Reporter
·2 min read
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Jamie Dimon, the CEO of the largest U.S. bank, said Thursday that he has personal concerns with cryptocurrency, but will not steer JPMorgan Chase (JPM) away from offering crypto-related financial services.

In congressional testimony to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, Dimon was asked about his thoughts on bitcoin and other digital assets.

"My own personal advice to people is: stay away from it. That does not mean the clients don't want it,” Dimon said. “This goes back to how you have to run a business. I don't smoke marijuana but if you make it nationally legal, I'm not going to stop our people from banking it."

The banking giant added that cryptocurrencies are not comparable to fiat currency or gold, warning: “buyers beware.” Dimon clarified that he was referring to cryptocurrencies, not blockchains or stablecoins.

Dimon added that his personal views do not weigh on the financial services that JPMorgan Chase offers to its clients.

JPMorgan Chase and its competitors are continuing to inch into cryptocurrency. As CoinDesk reported, the bank is preparing to offer an actively managed bitcoin fund to private wealth clients.

“A lot of our clients are asking, ‘can we help them buy or sell cryptocurrency?’” Dimon said at JPMorgan Chase’s annual shareholder meeting on May 18. “And we're investing in that as we speak.”

The embrace of cryptocurrency exposure is a change for Dimon, who described bitcoin as a “fraud” in 2017.

This image from video provided by the Senate Banking Committee shows JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifying virtually to the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (Senate Banking Committee via AP)
This image from video provided by the Senate Banking Committee shows JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifying virtually to the Senate Banking Committee Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (Senate Banking Committee via AP)

“I don't tell people how to spend their money, regardless of how I might personally feel about something,” Dimon told Congress Thursday.

Dimon added that JPMorgan Chase is debating how to offer cryptocurrency products in a “safe” way. 

He suggested that the asset class could benefit from a more rigid regulatory framework. Although Dimon criticized regulators for being “a day late and a dollar short,” he speculated that the government will “pay a lot more attention” in the future.

Brian Cheung is a reporter covering the Fed, economics, and banking for Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter @bcheungz.

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