Back in September of 2017, JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin “stupid” and “dangerous.” Dimon also said if he caught anyone buying or selling Bitcoin he would “fire them in a second.” His words carry heavy weight as one of the most prominent voices in the global finance world.
However, it appears his opinion changed. JPMorgan is looking into the use of cryptocurrencies despite their purported threat to the bank’s current business model.
Oliver Harris was the bank’s former head of developing new financial technologies – now, he is looking into the risks and rewards associated with digital assets and blockchain technology as Bitcoin moves towards mainstream adoption.
The move may be related to JPMorgan’s competitor Goldman Sachs’ decision to hire Justin Schmidt, a trader specializing in exchanging cryptocurrencies. However, JPMorgan’s decision to look into blockchain assets is surprising, especially considering Dimon’s harsh remarks towards Bitcoin only nine months ago.
In January of 2018, Dimon recanted his prior statements when he told Fox he is open-minded with regards to blockchain assets:
“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. The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICO’s you have to look at individually.”
In addition to researching cryptocurrency assets for the banking giant, Harris will also be leading Quorum, the bank’s in-house blockchain project. According to a report from Reuters’ Anna Irrera, JPMorgan is considering turning Quorum into an independent company.
Bitcoin has been growing at a rate of 165% per year for the past six years, according to Pantera Capital’s CEO Dan Morehead. Cryptocurrencies are becoming a hot commodity, and institutions such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs’ are finally looking for ways to get in on the action.
The CME and CBOE recently launched Bitcoin futures trading platforms– now, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are investigating cryptocurrencies as well. The acknowledgment of large banks and corporations toward the vast potential of blockchain technology is significant because it will increase awareness of the crypto scene.
Cover Photo by Ishan Gupta on Unsplash
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