After years of criticizing bitcoin, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on Thursday he was done talking about the most popular cryptocurrency. The vow lasted almost 24 hours.
On Friday, Dimon was speaking at a financial conference when the topic came up yet again.
“Who cares about bitcoin?” Dimon asked at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance in Washington, adding that he thought the digital currency was “stupid” and a “great product” for crooks, Bloomberg reported.
On Thursday, on a call with reporters, however, Dimon had sounded a bit more diplomatic towards the digital currency. “I wouldn’t put this high in the category of important things in the world,” Dimon replied during the bank’s third-quarter earnings call, when asked if JPMorgan would trade bitcoin. “But I’m not going to talk about bitcoin anymore.”
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Dimon’s attacks on bitcoin go back to at least 2014, when he declared it a “terrible store of value.” And just a few weeks ago, the banking titan was calling the market a bubble more overvalued than the tulip bulb craze in the 17th Century. “It won’t end well,” he said Barclays banking conference. “Someone is going to get killed.” Trading at a few hundred dollars per virtual coin back in 2014, bitcoin hit a record of over $5,800 on Friday.
The dour view does not seem to be shared by all of Dimon’s top lieutenants however. JPMorgan (JPM) CFO Marianne Lake had a considerably more positive take on the same earnings call. “We are open-minded for digital currencies that are properly controlled and regulated,” Lake said.
Rival Citigroup (C) also sounds more interested in cashing in on the bitcoin mania. On its earnings call Thursday, CFO John Gerspach called digital currency “an area worthy of exploration.” The bank is already experimenting with possible uses for digital currency and it’s underlying blockchain technology at facilities in Tel Aviv and Dublin, Gerspach said.