“Bitcoin’s Back to Where Jamie Dimon Cried ‘Fraud,’” the media said. On November 25, the first cryptocurrency dropped below $4,000 to $3,853, whereas in September 2017, when Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, called Bitcoin “fraud” and said that it was “worse than tulip bulbs” (referring to tulip fever in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century), the price of Bitcoin was $4,077. While some gloat, believing that the famous Bitcoin haters have already won, DeCenter recalls one of the most exciting anti-romances with Bitcoin.
Dimon + Bitcoin = <3
It takes two to make a relationship, and Dimon’s relationship with Bitcoin is no exception. It also has “observers” and an ambiance. On the Dimon side, these are traditional entrepreneurs and some economists who do not believe in cryptocurrencies, including Warren Buffett, John Bogle, Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman, and Nouriel Roubini, and on the Bitcoin side, there is the entire Bitcoin community that affectionately called Jamie Dimon—Jamie Demon.
The most famous statements of Dimon about Bitcoin and the reaction of Bitcoin and the community:
“It’s a terrible store of value. It could be replicated over and over,” Dimon told CNBC, which immediately exposed his lack of understanding of the technology. “Mr. Dimon, do understand Bitcoin does not simply get ‘replicated over and over.’ On the contrary, that’s what happens with the United States dollar,” the media responded.
Bitcoin developers are “going to try and eat our lunch. And that’s fine. That’s called competition, and we’ll be competing,” Dimon said.
Two years later, the mining company Genesis Mining responded to Dimon as part of its educational project, Explore Bitcoin, by putting out posters that read “You’re right, Jamie. Bitcoin will eat your lunch” at the Miami Bitcoin Conference. “Be ready to compete against hundreds of thousands of hungry young entrepreneurs ready to solve the problems you’ve left untouched for decades,” the organizers of the action wrote.
“Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin will not survive,” an article with this title appeared on CoinDesk on November 5, 2015.
“This is my personal opinion, there will be no real, non-controlled currency in the world. There is no government that’s going to put up with it for long […] there will be no currency that gets around government controls. It is cute now. Many senators and congressmen say: ‘I support the innovations of Silicon Valley,’ but there will be no such currency that will bypass government control,” Dimon said at the Fortune Global Forum.
“Bitcoin: JPM [JPMorgan] will not survive,” said Reddit user in the discussion of the article, referring to its title. “Bitcoin can easily outlive Jamie Dimon,” wrote another user.
Even then, Dimon differentiated between blockchain and cryptocurrency, saying: “The technology will be used, and it could be used to transport currency, but it will be dollars, not bitcoins.”
“There’s Bitcoin, the currency, I think is going to go nowhere and that’s not because of anything to do with technology. The blockchain is a technology which we have been studying […] and yes, it’s real,” Dimon said during the World Economic Forum in Davos, strengthening himself in his distinction between the distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency.
The Bitcoin community, however, makes fun of this position, considering it to be dual. “Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin is a scam. Also Jamie Dimon: Let’s file 20 blockchain patents, so we don’t miss out on this blockchain thing. *facepalm,*” as a user under the nickname 6maud wrote on Reddit.
“Bitcoin is a fraud. It is worse than tulip fever. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed,” Dimon said during his speech at an event organized by Barclays, also noting that he was to fire any trader who would be caught trading in cryptocurrencies because it would mean that they are “stupid.”
After such statements by Dimon, Bitcoin fell by 2% per day. The FUD, however, was also (and probably even more so) associated with fears that China would ban internal cryptocurrency exchanges.
“I couldn’t care less about it [...] If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day. I also told people that it could be traded for $100,000 before going down to zero. Tulip bulbs were once traded for $75,000. The only value of Bitcoin is how much someone is willing to pay for it,” Dimon told CNBC in an interview.
At the same time, Dimon once again emphasized that no government would want to give so many privileges to a cryptocurrency, citing as an example what was happening in China by that time: “One more thing about Bitcoin is governments. This is not a technological statement. Governments will destroy it sometime. Governments like to know where the money is, who owns it, and what you do with it [...] And governments like to control their currencies, to control their own economies.”
Dimon believes that the presence of one national currency (and the absence of digital currencies that are not tied to it) is natural: “When people form a state, one of the first things they do is form a currency. Are regulators and governments going to encourage Bitcoin in the long run? I don’t think so.” Dimon leaves little space for Bitcoin, namely, the situation when central banks abuse power, leading the economy to inflation, and when Bitcoin is used for illegal activities: “There are use cases for Bitcoin: if you live in Venezuela, North Korea, or if you are a criminal, then it is a great product.”
This speech attracted a lot of comments from participants in the crypto community, who took notice of almost every phrase, ‘“If you are a criminal.’ Oh, Jamie Dimon is a criminal who doesn’t like Bitcoin,” wrote Tom Dobbels under the video on YouTube. “Jamie Dimon is a tulip bulb,” “Dollars are tulip bulbs because they have an unlimited supply,” other users wrote, referring to the analogy that Dimon made between Bitcoin and tulip fever.
“‘Governments like to control their currencies’ … this is exactly why Bitcoin is the best,” wrote another user, rightly noting that “the government’s lack of support,” which Dimon is trying to use as an argument against Bitcoin, is one of the main problems for the crypto community and is one of the main advantages of Bitcoin.
“But this is the last time I answer about Bitcoin. I couldn’t care less about it,” said Dimon.
Why Don’t You Like Fiat?
Attempts by Dimon to juxtapose Bitcoin to fiat have traditionally caused the community the most discontent. “Personally, I don’t understand the value of something that has no real value,” said Dimon during the October speech at CNBC.
“So he said he doesn’t understand the value of something that has no value … So he has no idea what fiat currency is? There’s no value behind the USD except for what the FED dictates its value by telling us how much it is worth,” writes Brenton Young in the video commentary. “He claims Bitcoin isn’t valued on anything, does he know how the Federal Reserve system works!? They literally […] print money when needed just like all the central banking systems ,” commented another user under the nickname Big A.
Another phrase that the supporters of Bitcoin could not ignore is the competition “who has the most”: Dimon said that he does not understand why Bitcoin is spoken of so much, given that its capitalization at that time was about $50 billion and “maybe $1 billion in daily trading,” while in traditional finance JPMorgan alone “has $6 trillion in daily turnover.” “J.P. Morgan 6 trillion will soon be 6 million […] Bitcoin and Ether are the future ,” says another comment from the community.
January 9, 2018
“I regret making that comment. Blockchain is real. You can have cryptodollars in yen and stuff like that. ICOs … you got to look at every one individually,” Dimon said during a conversation with Fox Business, at the same time partially “justifying” not only cryptocurrencies but also ICOs. “I’m not interested that much in the subject at all,” Dimon added.
“When I made that stupid comment that Bitcoin is a fraud, my daughter sent me an email saying ‘Dad, I have two Bitcoins.’ My once smart daughter,” Dimon said in another interview.
Nothing Personal. Just Business
Starting from 2015, Dimon spoke positively about the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, and in October 2017, the “issue of love” appeared, as JPMorgan Chase announced the launch of the blockchain system Interbank Information Network, which would significantly reduce the number of parties which should be involved in the confirmation of international payments, reducing the processing time of the transaction “from weeks to hours.” The project partners are the Royal Bank of Canada and the New Zealand Banking Group. “The blockchain is a technology which is a good technology. We actually use it. It will be useful in a lot of different things. God bless the blockchain,” Dimon said in a conversation with CNBC.
“I’m Stronger.” “No, I’m stronger.”
Today, Dimon’s latest “Bitcoin statement” was a small commentary on CNBC in June of this year. The host asked Dimon and Warren Buffett about who of them hated Bitcoin most.
“I set the bar high. I don’t know if Jamie can beat it,” said the billionaire entrepreneur, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the famous Bitcoin hater Warren Buffett. “I don’t want to be a speaker for Bitcoin. Just be careful,” answered Dimon.
“As the brains of the Banking/Government plot to end crypto, you lied. You took our credit cards and bank accounts. You made governments shut down exchanges and restrict us. You hurt us. But clearly, we live. We cannot be stopped. Ready to talk terms of surrender?” John McAfee left such an appeal to Dimon on his Twitter in April of this year.
“Dimon is ignoring the functionality of Bitcoin. While it doesn’t have day-to-day price stability, lacks regulation, and isn’t accepted at the corner store, the currency works across borders, can be programmed to track transactions in a more secure way and doesn’t require a bank account,” said Balaji Srinivasan, CTO of a cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
“He sees Bitcoin eventually displacing offshore Swiss and Cayman bank accounts that JPMorgan and other banks have opened for their wealthy clients. Trillions of dollars are held in such accounts,” said Ari Paul, co-founder of BlockTower Capital.
“You have to have an open mind to be able to see the future. Bitcoin is a bit like flood water. Is hard to keep out of your society,” said Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures.
The relationship of Dimon with Bitcoin has already caught on in modern culture, including memes and drawings: