Despite the ongoing Crypto Winter, Bitcoin supporters are certain that the future for the fledgling industry is bright. And so far this year, they’ve had reason to celebrate. Bitcoin’s price has jumped more than 25% in the past few weeks alone after a dismal 2022. But JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon still isn’t a believer. At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, Dimon bashed cryptocurrencies as a distraction.
“I think all that’s been a waste of time and why you guys waste any breath on it is totally beyond me,” he told CNBC. “Bitcoin itself is a hyped up fraud. It’s a pet rock.”
This isn’t the first time Dimon has expressed his doubts about cryptocurrencies—or used a “pet rock” analogy to describe digital assets. The CEO has described Bitcoin a “fraud” since 2017; and after the blow-up of what was once the world’s second largest crypto exchange FTX late last year, he argued the entire industry was a “complete sideshow.”
CNBC anchor Joe Kernen pushed back on Dimon’s claims that Bitcoin is a fraud on Thursday, arguing the cryptocurrency is a “store of value” that is “immutable” and “scarce,” noting its protocol indicates that there will only ever be 21 million coins.
“Totally untrue. How do you know it’s gonna stop at 21 million? Maybe it’s going to get to 21 million and Satoshi’s picture is going to come up and laugh at you all,” Dimon quipped, referencing the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto that was used by Bitcoin’s anonymous creator, or creators.
But while Dimon doesn’t believe in cryptocurrencies, when it comes to the blockchain technology that they’re built on, he has a much more positive outlook.
“That’s different,” he said on Thursday. “Blockchain is a technology ledger system that we use to move information. We’ve used it to do overnight repo, intraday repo, we’ve used it to move money, right? So that’s a technology ledger that we think will be deployable.”
Dimon and JPMorgan have leaned into blockchain technology since 2017, when the bank was one of 86 firms that helped create an open-source blockchain initiative called The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. And as Dimon mentioned above, the company uses its own cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin, to carry out intraday repurchase agreements. But on Thursday, Dimon noted that the financial industry has been talking about using blockchain technology for 12 years and, to this point, he said “very little has been done.”