Today, Jan. 9. the Chairman & CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, spoke ambiguously about cryptocurrency, noting he regretted calling Bitcoin a “fraud” earlier, and was not particularly interested in the subject. He made his comments in an exclusive interview with Fox Business at the JPMorgan Health Care Conference in San Francisco.
In September 2017 at a banking conference, Dimon called Bitcoin a “fraud” and said that he would fire any JPMorgan employee who traded Bitcoin on the company’s accounts, in part for being “stupid”.
He also told Fox Business today that he “regrets” making the September comments, but is “not interested that much in the subject at all.”
However, despite his lack of interest, Dimon made an ambiguous statement about the government’s relationship to Bitcoin, telling Fox Business:
“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.”
Though it is unclear exactly what Dimon intended to say with these words, in the context of his earlier comments on the subject from 2015, he may have meant that cryptocurrency would eventually become fully government-controlled.
In 2015, responding to a question about the potential for a decentralized “shadow economy” of cryptocurrencies, Dimon stated more clearly:
“It’s just not gonna happen, you’re wasting your time. This is my personal opinion. There will be no real non-controlled currency in the world. There’s no government that’s gonna put up with it for long.”
During the Jan. 9 interview with Fox, Dimon asserted, as he did in 2015, that the viable digital currencies will be those that are government-backed, or fiat, such as a digital yen or dollar:
“You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICO’s you have to look at individually.”
Dimon seemed optimistic about Blockchain technology, noting:
“The blockchain is real.”
In 2017, multiple governments around the world announced that they were considering implementing a national digital currency. Others, such as Venezuela, have already done so.
An earlier version of this article implied that Dimon’s 2015 statements were in fact made Jan. 9, 2018. The text has been edited to clarify timing. We apologize for any confusion.