Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co., called for banning cryptocurrencies during the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs' annual oversight meeting of Wall Street firms.
The hearing, which convened leaders from the finance world's upper echelon, spotlighted Dimon's critical stance on the novel asset amid discussions on oversight and regulation.
"If I were the government I'd close it down," he said.
A call for a crypto clampdown
Addressing the committee, which included Senator Elizabeth Warren, Dimon articulated a scathing critique of cryptocurrencies.
He argued that the semi-anonymous nature of digital currencies, their capacity for instantaneous money transfer, and the ability to bypass traditional regulatory systems like Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks, Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctions make them a haven for illicit activities.
According to Dimon, the predominant utility of cryptocurrencies lies in enabling criminal activities such as drug trafficking and tax evasion, due to these features. His suggestion to the government was unambiguous: shut down the crypto sector to avert these risks.
Dimon's history of Bitcoin skepticism
Dimon's adversarial comments on crypto are not a recent development. Over the years, he has voiced his skepticism about Bitcoin and its underlying technology, often pointing to its potential for fraud and the lack of intrinsic value.
His criticisms have ranged from labeling Bitcoin a "hyped-up fraud" to questioning its legitimacy as an investment asset. In 2017, he said that would fire any trader "in a second" for touching the largest cryptocurrency.
That said, this consistent skepticism from the head of one of the world's largest banks did not prevent JPMorgan from dipping its toes into crypto and blockchain. In 2021, he said that it wasn't his job to tell his clients what to do.