September 24, 2022

While testifying before United States (US) lawmakers, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called himself a “huge skeptic” of “crypto tokens that you call currency like Bitcoin,” labeling them “decentralized Ponzi schemes.”

Dimon was asked what is keeping him from being more active in the crypto space during an oversight hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee on September 21.

Dimon emphasized that he sees value in blockchain, decentralized finance (DeFi), ledgers, smart contracts and “tokens that do something,” but then went on to criticize crypto tokens that identify as currencies.

Asked for his opinion on the draft US stablecoin bill, Dimon said he believes there is nothing wrong with stablecoins being properly regulated and that regulation should be similar to that of money market funds.

Dimon once described Bitcoin as a “fraud” and has reiterated in the past that he has no interest in supporting the sector on a personal level. He has occasionally softened his stance on cryptocurrency, once noting that it can serve important use cases at times like cross-border payments.

Despite Dimon’s views on the cryptocurrency space, JPMorgan is pushing into the blockchain technology space. In October 2020, the financial giant launched its own stablecoin – JPM Coin – the first cryptocurrency backed by a US bank, which aimed to increase settlement efficiency.

A week after the coin’s launch, the bank launched a new business division dedicated to blockchain technology called Onyx. Since then, the Onyx platform has been used by large institutional clients for global payments 24 hours a day.

JPMorgan also became the first major bank in the Metaverse after opening its virtual lounge in the blockchain-based Decentraland world in February. The move follows a report released by the firm that cited Metaverse as a $1 trillion opportunity.

JPMorgan has been hiring new staff to push into the blockchain and crypto space, most recently announcing on September 9 that it hired former Microsoft executive Tahreem Kamptom as its senior executive for payments. Kamptom is expected to help JPMorgan explore blockchain technology given its bio shows on Linkedin that it has been working on cryptocurrency-related payment methods.

Related: ‘Most cryptocurrencies are still junk’ and lack a use case – JPMorgan blockchain head

During the hearing, lawmakers also asked other top US bank executives whether they planned to fund cryptocurrency mining. Citigroup CEO Jane Fraser, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf suggested their banks had no intention of doing so.