June 22, 2024

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and US senator Elizabeth Warren have sparred over financial regulation for more than a decade. But in a rare occurrence during a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday (Dec. 6), they adopted the same stance. Both want to see the US government get a lot tougher on crypto.

“The only true use case for it is criminals, drug traffickers, money laundering, [and] tax avoidance,” Dimon said. “If I was the government, I’d close it down.”

This was in response to a question from Warren about why crypto is “an attractive financial tool for terrorists, drug traffickers, and rogue nations.”

Their alignment in sentiment is not entirely new—both have been critical of crypto in the past. But coming just weeks after the conviction of FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and crypto exchange Binance’s $4.3 billion settlement with US regulators over anti-money laundering charges and sanction violations, their shared skepticism perhaps takes on new resonance.

Quotable: Warren and Wall Street agree on crypto

“When it comes to banking policy, I don’t usually agree with the CEOs of multi-billion dollar banks. But enforcing anti-money laundering rules against crypto to protect national security is common sense & critical. It’s time for Congress to act.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Dec. 6 post on X

A non-exhaustive timeline of Jamie Dimon’s contempt for crypto

January 2014: On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dimon says bitcoin is a “terrible store of value” and suggests JPMorgan stay away from it

November 2015: Dimon predicts a crackdown on cryptocurrencies at the Fortune Global Forum. “No government will ever support a virtual currency that goes around borders and doesn’t have the same controls. It’s not going to happen,” he said.

September 2017: Dimon threatens to fire traders who bought bitcoin, warning that it’s a “fraud” that will eventually blow up

October 2017: Dimon says he won’t talk about bitcoin anymore, but does soon after: “If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day.”

January 2018: Dimon expresses “regret” at calling Bitcoin a fraud, but it won’t last.

October 2018: On the eve of the 10th anniversary of bitcoin, Dimon says, “I didn’t want to be the spokesman against bitcoin. I don’t really give a shit—that’s the point, OK?”

October 2021: Dimon calls crypto “worthless” during the great crypto boom. He says bitcoin has “no intrinsic value,” adding that “regulators are going to regulate the hell out of it.”

February 2022: Instead of using the term currency, Dimon coins the term “crypto-tokens.” In an interview with the Greek news outlet Ekathimerini, he says, “currencies have rules of law behind them, central banks and tax authorities.”

September 2022: Dimon warns that cryptocurrencies are “Ponzi schemes

December 2023: Dimon says he’d “close” crypto down if he was the government

One big number: JPMorgan’s violations

$3.93 billion: Fines JPMorgan has paid since 2000 for 272 banking, securities, and other violations, the bulk of it amassed after Dimon’s tenure began in 2005, according to Good Jobs First’s violations tracker. That’s why crypto lawyer John Deaton called Dimon a hypocrite after the bank CEO’s Dec. 6 comments.

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