Did Jamie Dimon have an ulterior motive when he trashed bitcoin last week?
Florian Schweitzer, managing partner for a bitcoin market trading firm, has filed a complaint with a Swedish regulator against JPMorgan’s chief executive for calling bitcoin a “fraud” a week ago after learning that JPMorgan began buying into a bitcoin tracker fund shortly after Dimon made his comments, according to Quartz.
Schweitzer’s firm, London, U.K.-based Blockswater, trades around $25 million per month. Schweitzer has asked the Swedish regulator to investigate Dimon.
Dimon criticized bitcoin at a banking conference in New York, telling CNBC that bitcoin is “just not a real thing, (and) eventually it will be closed.” He also claimed he would fire any JP Morgan trader engaging in bitcoin activity.
Days after Dimon made his comments, JPMorgan became one of the most active buyers of Bitcoin XBT, a bitcoin tracker fund listed on the Nasdaq Nordic in Stockholm, Sweden. The fund allows buyers to hold bitcoin without having to worry about how to securely store it.
Bitcoin’s price dropped 24% from the day Dimon recently criticized bitcoin and the day the company made its XBT trades. The Zero Hedge finance blog accused JPMorgan of buying bitcoin on the cheap. JPMorgan told Reuters it was serving as a broker for clients who wanted to buy into the bitcoin tracker fund and that the purchase orders were for clients, not for JPMorgan.
Schweitzer said market abuse in Sweden is punishable by two years in jail.
Dimon’s criticism of bitcoin didn’t begin last week. In late 2015, he called bitcoin “a waste of time” at a time when bitcoin was trading under $400, nearly a tenth of the cryptocurrency’s current value. The following month at the WEF summit in Davos, Dimon doubled down on his opinion, stating “there’s nothing behind a bitcoin and I think if it was big, the governments would stop it.”
In response, analysts and experts outside of the cryptocurrency industry such as Alex Gurevich, former JPMorgan executive and head global macro, told Dimon he is a great bank CEO, but not a trader or a tech entrepreneur.
Other analysts and experts said Dimon could have made such comments as a way to protect JPMorgan’s ongoing blockchain development, research and operations.
Featured image from Wikimedia.