America’s largest bank, JPMorgan said it will soon start offering an actively-managed Bitcoin funds for some of its elite clients.
This is a big deal for Bitcoin given the historical positions of its CEO, Jamie Dimon on Bitcoin.
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon called bitcoin a dangerous fraud in 2017, threatening then to “fire in a second” any trader who touched the stuff. “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day,” he said at the time.
While he quickly walked back the “fraud” label and has more recently toned down his rhetoric, Dimon, who has repeatedly argued that government regulation of cryptocurrencies is inevitable, maintained late last year that bitcoin is “not my cup of tea.”
Despite its CEO’s personal disdain for the crypto, top deputies within its Corporate and Investment Banking division acknowledged in February that client demand might force the institution to change.
JPMorgan’s hulking investment, commercial banking and wealth management divisions have gradually evolved in their treatment of crypto and blockchain, even if the client-facing bitcoin fund is new. The bank’s research analysts regularly issue market insight on bitcoin’s price and prospects in reports available to clients.
The firm’s Onyx division seeks to speed up interbank payments via blockchain technology and JPM Coin, for example. After five years of quiet development, Onyx is mounting a global hiring campaign for blockchain engineers.
On the Investment Banking side, JPMorgan issued its first crypto-adjacent investment product in March, a structured note tied to the performance of bitcoin proxy stocks like MicroStrategy and Riot Blockchain.
JPMorgan’s new fund product, however, will be its first directly dependent on bitcoin’s performance.
Bank representatives did not respond to CoinDesk’s questions by press time.