JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon: I’d shut crypto down

Even as his bank moves into the blockchain space, Jamie Dimon tells senators the government should shut down the whole industry

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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon | lev radin/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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If it were up to JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, the crypto industry would be “closed down,” he told US senators Wednesday during the Financial Services Committee’s annual banking oversight hearing. 

CEOs from the world’s top banks, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and BNY Mellon, among others, joined Dimon Wednesday to answer lawmakers’ questions about how effectively the banking industry is serving Americans. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a vocal critic of the banking industry, found a rare moment of agreement with Dimon when she shifted the topic of conversation from Basel III — the international agreement spurred by the 2008 financial crisis — to cryptocurrencies. 

“Today’s terrorists have a new way to get around the Bank Secrecy Act: cryptocurrency,” Warren said during her allotted five minutes. “Last year an estimated $20 billion in illicit crypto transactions funded every kind of dangerous criminal. North Korea has funded at least half its missile program, including nuclear weapons, using the proceeds of crypto crime.” 

Warren appeared to be citing a January 2023 report from data firm Chainalysis, which found that more than $23 billion of cryptocurrency was laundered in 2022. A mid-year report from Chainalysis published in July however found that for the first half of 2023, illicit crypto activities were down 65%. 

Warren continued to ask Jamie Dimon why, based on his experience leading JPMorgan, criminals are so drawn to crypto. 

“I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin etc.,” Dimon responded. “You pointed out the only true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, anti money laundering, tax avoidance, and that is a use case because it is somewhat anonymous, not fully, and because you can move money instantaneously.” 

“If I was the government, I’d close it down,” he added.

Dimon’s comments come as his institution continues to push ahead into the blockchain space. The banking giant launched its corporate stablecoin, JPM Coin, in 2017, which today is still available to select institutional clients. The bank also launched its blockchain platform, Onyx, in 2020, at the time hailing it as the first-ever bank-led project of its kind. 

Warren did not ask Dimon about any of JPMorgan’s crypto-related initiatives. She posed her next question to each witness: “Do you think that crypto companies facilitating financial transactions should have to follow the same anti-money laundering rules that your bank has to follow?”

“Absolutely,” each of the eight banking representatives answered.


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