Major U.S. investment bank JPMorgan Chase will eventually have to get involved in Bitcoin (BTC), co-president Daniel Pinto believes.
The executive told CNBC Friday that JPMorgan’s decision to introduce Bitcoin services would depend on the client demand to trade Bitcoin. Although the current demand is not strong enough, Pinto is confident that it could grow further:
“If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved [...] The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”
Pinto’s latest remarks follow some bullish signals that have been circulating around JPMorgan for a while. During an internal Zoom call in January, JPMorgan’s global markets head Troy Rohrbaugh reportedly acknowledged that the bank’s own employees were increasingly asking about the bank’s Bitcoin plans. Pinto was already saying that he was open-minded about Bitcoin, people familiar with the matter reported.
JPMorgan’s potential move into Bitcoin appears somewhat ironic, considering that the company’s CEO Jamie Dimon is known for his negative stance toward Bitcoin. In September 2017, Dimon called Bitcoin a “fraud,” comparing the world’s largest cryptocurrency to "tulip mania" and predicting a massive collapse. At the time, Bitcoin was trading around $3,500. Three months later, the digital coin hit $20,000 — though it did enter a multi-year bear market shortly thereafter.
Bitcoin overtook JPMorgan in terms of market capitalization at $352 billion in November 2020. The milestone came shortly after Dimon compared Bitcoin to proprietary blockchain networks with regulatory controls, stating, “Bitcoin is kind of different and it’s not my cup of tea.”
JPMorgan strategists have provided mixed signals about Bitcoin in the past. In October 2020, JPMorgan reportedly suggested that Bitcoin's price would double or triple in the long term. A few months later, JPMorgan strategists John Normand and Federico Manicardi argued that Bitcoin was the least reliable hedge during periods of acute market stress.