JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon and Sen. Elizabeth Warren Team Up to Bash Crypto

Jamie Dimon on the bottom left and Elizabeth Warren on the bottom right both pointing to crypto bitcoin.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has never been shy about trashing crypto, even while his giant Wall Street bank became a leader in using blockchain technology to move billions. At a U.S. Senate hearing Wednesday, he slammed the industry again, to the delight of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who is trying to impose restrictions to combat illicit digital transactions.

“I’ve always been deeply opposed to bitcoin, crypto, etc.,” he told senators in a hearing examining the U.S. banking industry. “If I was the government, I’d close it down,” he declared.
Lined up with other big-bank CEOs before the Senate Banking Committee, Dimon argued that the crypto industry gets to “move money instantaneously” without going through the regulatory conduits required by bankers, including sanctions and money-laundering controls. He contended that the primary use case for digital assets is criminality.

Sen. Warren jumped in to get Dimon – a longtime adversary of the progressive Wall Street critic – and other CEOs to agree with her that crypto businesses should have to follow the same anti-money-laundering rules under the Bank Secrecy Act that other regulated financial firms do. That’s the main thrust of legislation she’s been pushing, which industry lobbyists have countered would rope in crypto projects that have no ability to comply, effectively killing them off.

The bill has some overlap in other crypto legislative efforts, but an aggressive effort to impose such restrictions probably won’t find sufficient backing in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, so it isn’t likely to move toward law in the near term.

Meanwhile, Dimon’s bank – which has over $3 trillion of assets, more than double the market cap of all crypto assets combined – is a major player in Wall Street’s race to move their businesses onto crypto-powered infrastructure. The company just said its JPM Coin is conveying $1 billion per day, and JPMorgan’s Onyx division is exploring how to meld traditional finance with blockchains.

Dimon has long differentiated between “crypto” and “blockchain,” the ledger technology that serves as the foundation for cryptocurrencies and something Dimon argues is a useful tool.