By John Kell and Alan Murray
November 5, 2015

On day three of the Fortune Global Forum, which focused on global risks and opportunities, three bitcoin enthusiasts rhapsodized over breakfast about how a stateless digital currency could change world finance.


But a few hours later, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon – weathered by a decade of costly encounters with regulators – brought their high-flying hopes crashing to earth,



“It’s just not going to happen. You are wasting your time. When the DOJ calls and says, ‘It’s an illegal currency and it’s against the laws of the land, and if you do it again, we will put you in jail,’ it’s over.


“There will be no real-time, non-controlled currency in the world. There is no government that is going to put up with it for long. It’s kind of cute now, a lot of senators and congressmen will say ‘I support Silicon Valley innovation,’ But there will be no currency that gets around government controls.”


Dimon went on to say the blockchain technology used to transport the digital currency could have many uses, and he said his bank is part of a consortium exploring its potential. The blockchain may even be used to transport currency, he said, “but the currency will be U.S. dollars.”


Dimon ended the three-day conference on an optimistic note. Asked for final advice for the group assembled in San Francisco, he responded: “Don’t be so damned depressed.” Leaders have been programmed to be risk averse since the financial crisis, but the economic forces are generally in America’s and the world’s favor.


“We have all become risk experts and are afraid of our own shadow at this point. Move on. The world is going to be fine.”


You can find full coverage of the Fortune Global Forum here. And you can follow technology developments by subscribing to our daily newsletter Data Sheet, written by Adam Lashinsky, here.


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Alan Murray


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