Earlier this week, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon made a controversial statement at a banking industry conference organized by Barclays, condemning bitcoin and threatening to fire portfolio managers within JPMorgan who have been trading bitcoin. Despite the warning, according to sources, JPMorgan Securities Ltd. purchased massive amounts of bitcoin through Swedish Bitcoin exchanges when the price dipped to the US$3,000 level.
Dimon’s baseless comments toward bitcoin and his threats to traders led to criticism from bitcoin experts, bankers and former JPMorgan executives including former JPMorgan head of global macro Alex Gurevich.
More to the point, Dimon demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of the structure of bitcoin and blockchain technology in general when he stated that bitcoin should be closed down by the government in the near future. CNBC analyst Brian Kelly criticized Dimon’s statement, explaining that bitcoin was specifically designed to circumvent governments and authorities by creating a decentralized financial system.
Despite Dimon’s strong condemnation of bitcoin and his threats toward JPMorgan traders, many trusted sources including bitcoin developer Andrew DeSantis and bitcoin trader IamNomad revealed that JPMorgan Securities Ltd. had purchased massive amounts of Bitcoin XBT, an instrument tracking the price of bitcoin, through a Swedish exchange.
Similar to Digital Currency Group’s Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), Bitcoin XBT is an investment vehicle allowing institutional and retail traders to invest in bitcoin through strictly regulated channels in the public stock market. Both DeSantis and IamNomad revealed that many accounts under JPMorgan Securities Ltd. purchased bitcoin as its price dipped below $3,000.
On the World Crypto Network, a YouTube news channel and cryptocurrency podcast hosted by Vortex, bitcoin consultant and derivatives trader Tone Vays noted that it is not possible any trader at JPMorgan directly invested in a bitcoin investment vehicle. He suggested that a more likely scenario was that JPMorgan processed bank transfers to Nasdaq Nordic’s stock exchange, in which Bitcoin XBT is supported, on behalf of their customers.
For his part, IamNomad noted that a department at JPMorgan could have invested in Bitcoin XBT since its traders are not allowed to invest in bitcoin directly. However, a more reasonable explanation of JPMorgan’s bank transfers to Nasdaq Nordic was that JPMorgan clients were purchasing bitcoin exchange traded notes in Bitcoin XBT.
Whether JPMorgan itself purchased shares in Bitcoin XBT is of minimal importance. It is crucial for investors and traders to take away the fact that an increasing number of JPMorgan traders are willing to purchase bitcoin and demonstrate enthusiasm even after the harsh criticism toward bitcoin issued by the company’s CEO.
As mainstream adoption of bitcoin as a digital currency, a long-term investment and a safe haven asset continues to increase at an exponential rate, demand for the crypto from public markets as well as professional and institutional traders will increase rapidly. Regardless of the recent closure of Chinese bitcoin exchanges, international markets and leading regional bitcoin exchange markets are strengthening with efficient regulations and the emergence of major conglomerates within the global bitcoin industry.
Image by Håkan Dahlström, License for Commercial Use