Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

JPMorgan's Dimon says bitcoin 'is a fraud'

JPMorgan's Dimon says bitcoin 'is a fraud'

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, telling a NY investment conference that the bitcoin craze is comparable to the tulip mania that swept Holland in the 17th century, with speculators driving up prices of virtually worthless tulip bulbs to exorbitant levels.

Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon came out with guns blazing Tuesday at the Delivering Alpha conference.

Even if Dimon doesn't see Bitcoin as a legitimate long-term play, the CEO acknowledges that it could one day reach a truly lofty valuation thanks to the euphoria surrounding it.

But "wait until someone gets hurt, or someone uses it for illicit purposes, - and they're using it for some illicit purposes right now - they'll shut it down", Dimon said. Still, he said banks' application of blockchain "won't be overnight".

China's largest bitcoin exchanges, however, have been reluctant to elaborate on the matter as no official notice has been received from regulators.

The bank chief said he wouldn't short bitcoin because there's no telling how high it will go before it collapses.

Dimon did acknowledge that people in locations with no other options could find bitcoin very useful and that his own daughter has purchased bitcoin. "So there may be a market for that, but it'd be a limited market".

If a JPMorgan trader began trading in bitcoin, he said, "I'd fire them in a second".

Banks have avoided getting involved in bitcoin because of those types of connections to illegal online activity and money laundering. Rumours that the Chinese government is planning to ban trading of virtual currencies on domestic exchanges has weighed on bitcoin recently.

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