JPMorgan May Hate Bitcoin, but Millions in Crypto Think Differently

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JPMorgan Chase really appears to hate Bitcoin and crypto, as long as you ignore the millions of dollars they are throwing at the sector.

For years, the investment bank has pursued investments in blockchain and cryptocurrency while simultaneously talking the industry down. That trend was continued recently by JPMorgan president Daniel Pinto, who on Monday told CNBC that crypto is a small asset class that “is kind of irrelevant in the scheme of things.”

Dear JPMorgan, You Seem Confused Over Crypto

JPMorgan Chase may be the largest of the big four investment banks, but on the subject of crypto it seems confused on whether it is coming or going.

In a recent interview with CNBC, company president Daniel Pinto played down the influence of crypto in international markets. 

“The reality is, the current form of crypto has become a small asset class that is kind of irrelevant in the scheme of things,” said Pinto. Even so, the executive did go on to concede that something may be brewing in the wider sector when he added, “… the technology, the concepts, something is probably going to happen there – just not in its current form.”

The seeming disinterest from JPMorgan would appear to be a step-up in some regards.

In 2021 company CEO Jamie Dimon asserted that “I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless.”

Prior to this, Dimon called Bitcoin “a fraud,” and “fools gold,” while calling cryptocurrencies “decentralized Ponzi schemes.”

Following the JPMorgan Crypto Trail

While JPMorgan executives have been having fun bashing all the blockchains, the company has been pursuing policies that contradict their edicts.

In 2019, the company launched its very own cryptocurrency (or should that be decentralized Ponzi scheme?) in the form of JPM Coin.

In 2020, the bank created an entire blockchain division called Onyx, which according to them “pioneered the world’s first bank-led blockchain platform for the exchange of value, information and digital assets.”

The company also has a string of blockchain and crypto investments to its name. 

This year alone, the bank participated in a $60 million funding round for the on-chain analysis firm Elliptic, and a $32 million funding round with competitor organization TRM Labs

In 2021, the deals were significantly bigger. In Jan. 2021 JPMorgan directly invested $100 million in Figure, a company leveraging blockchain technology in the mortgage market. Other investments included ConsenSys, the company behind MetaMask. In that instance, JPMorgan participated in a funding round with UBS and Mastercard, raising a combined $65 million.

What Does It All Mean?

While JPMorgan’s total investment in blockchain is difficult to measure, the company has publicly stated that it spends $12 billion per year on technology projects. That includes machine learning or artificial intelligence as blockchain.

Why, then, all the hate from the men at the top? That’s hard to say with any confidence, but when words and actions misalign, it’s probably better to judge them by their actions. Even haters want those sweet crypto gains.

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