JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon Lashes Out Against Crypto

U.S. banks call for a crypto ban, while the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce passes a pro-blockchain bill.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon once again expressed his strong opposition to cryptocurrencies, even suggesting they should be banned, while also agreeing with Senator Elizabeth Warren on the need for cryptocurrency regulation. On the legislative front, a pro-blockchain bill known as H.R. 6572, titled the "Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023," was unanimously passed by the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and aims to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. in the blockchain field. In Canada, leading cryptocurrency exchanges Bitbuy and Coinsquare, under the parent company WonderFi, reached over 1 billion Canadian dollars in assets under management, with impressive growth in user numbers and trading volume following their merger with WonderFi in 2023.

“Crypto Should Be Banned”

In a recent appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon expressed his very strong dislike of cryptocurrencies, and even suggested that they should be banned. The remarks from Dimon came under questioning from Senator Elizabeth Warren during a Senate Banking Committee hearing.

Dimon, who heads the largest bank in the United States in terms of assets, did not mince his words when it came to his views on cryptocurrencies. He stated, "I've always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, etc." He went on to claim that the only legitimate use case for cryptocurrencies is for criminals, drug traffickers, individuals engaged in money laundering, and those seeking to evade taxes.

This isn't the first time Jamie Dimon has made it a point to share his critical stance against cryptocurrencies. In the past, he famously referred to Bitcoin as "a hyped-up fraud" and even compared it to a "pet rock." However, he later took a step back on some of these statements.

During the Senate hearing, Senator Warren pressed Dimon and other CEOs of major banks on the issue of cryptocurrency regulation. To the surprise of many, there was a rare moment of agreement between the banking leaders and Senator Warren. They concurred that cryptocurrency companies should be subject to the same anti-money laundering regulations as traditional financial institutions.

Senator Warren, who is also a vocal critic of the banking industry, emphasized the importance of cryptocurrency regulation in the context of national security. She stated, "When it comes to banking policy, I am not usually holding hands with the CEOs of multibillion-dollar banks, but this is a matter of national security. Terrorists, drug traffickers, and rogue nations should be barred from using crypto for their dangerous activities. It is time for Congress to act."

Despite Jamie Dimon's personal reservations about cryptocurrencies, it's worth noting that JPMorgan Chase is actively involved in blockchain technology, which is essentially the backbone of the cryptocurrency industry.

Blockchain Bill Passed

While others are fighting tooth and nail against the cryptocurrency sector and its underlying blockchain technology, others seem to be fully embracing it. The U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce has unanimously approved a pro-blockchain bill. The bill, known as H.R. 6572, titled the "Deploying American Blockchains Act of 2023," aims to fully utilize the potential of blockchain technology and enhance the country's competitiveness in this rapidly evolving field.

The committee's vote, with a resounding 46-0 majority, took place on Dec. 5 as part of a broader session addressing 44 legislative pieces. The 13-page bill outlines a clear mandate for Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to undertake actions that promote the competitiveness of the United States in the deployment, utilization, application, and competitiveness of blockchain technology and distributed ledger technology.

Cody Carbone, the policy head of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, expressed his support for the bill on X, highlighting its importance in preserving U.S. leadership in blockchain development. He emphasized that such leadership is crucial in the rapidly evolving blockchain landscape. Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, also endorsed the bill, stating that it rightfully advances the nation's competitiveness in the emerging blockchain sector.

Key provisions of the bill include directing the commerce secretary to establish best practices, policies, and recommendations for both the public and private sectors when implementing blockchain technology. Additionally, the bill proposes the creation of a "Blockchain Deployment Program" to support the use of blockchain technology.

The legislation also calls for the establishment of government advisory committees aimed at facilitating blockchain adoption. These committees would consist of federal agency representatives, blockchain industry stakeholders, experts, and other relevant parties. Furthermore, the bill seeks to promote blockchain leadership within the U.S. and enhance coordination among federal agencies interested in utilizing blockchain technology. It also mandates studies to assess federal agencies' current use of blockchain and their readiness to embrace this technology in the future.

While this pro-crypto bill represents a significant step toward embracing blockchain technology, it is one of many bills related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain currently being discussed in Congress. Notable among them is the "Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act," which addresses issues related to classifying cryptocurrencies as commodities or securities and clarifying regulatory jurisdictions.

The next stage for the Deploying American Blockchains Act is a vote in the House of Representatives. If it successfully passes the House, it will then proceed to the Senate, where it will undergo further scrutiny before potentially becoming law after final Congressional and presidential approval.

Canadian Crypto Exchanges Reach $1B in AUM

Canada has also decided to embrace cryptocurrency and all it has to offer. Two of Canada's leading cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitbuy and Coinsquare, have reached a big milestone by surpassing 1 billion Canadian dollars ($736 million) in assets under management (AUM). This was announced on Dec. 6 by their parent company, WonderFi. In just a short period, these platforms have seen remarkable growth, with their assets under management increasing from 695 million CAD ($512 million) in the third quarter.

During the month of November, both Bitbuy and Coinsquare recorded a huge 16% increase in monthly active users compared to the previous month. Additionally, the platforms witnessed a remarkable 54% surge in total trading volume.

The story of Bitbuy and Coinsquare's success is intertwined with their merger with the decentralized finance (DeFi) platform WonderFi, which occurred in July of 2023. This merger, backed by prominent Canadian businessman Kevin O'Leary, also known as "Mr. Wonderful," resulted in the creation of a collective user base of 1.6 million Canadians, spanning all of its subsidiaries.

Bitbuy, in particular, caught the attention of many in the cryptocurrency community in November of 2021 when it became a fully regulated crypto exchange in Canada. The Ontario Securities Commission granted Bitbuy a license, solidifying its position as a trusted and compliant platform. Coinsquare followed suit in October of 2022 by becoming the first crypto exchange in Canada to receive broker-dealer status from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada.