Category Archives: Daniel Masters

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JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon Backtracks on Crytpo Comments, Backs Blockchain

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has stated in a recent interview that he “probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency“.

Dimon was quizzed in an interview with the Harvard Business Review in the latest issue about what his current views on cryptocurrency were; a reasonable enough question to ask, given some of his past scathing statements about the technology.

Just to revisit some of these notable moments where the CEO of the largest bank in the US expressed himself without any attempt at holding back. Past tirades against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies included descriptions of “fraud”, “worse than tulips” and suggestions that he’d fire any JPMorgan trader trading in Bitcoin “in a second”, citing crypto as “stupid” and “dangerous”. His finest hour came with this statement:

“If you were in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a bunch of parts like that, or if you were a drug dealer, a murderer, stuff like that, you are better off doing it in Bitcoin than US dollars. So there may be a market for that, but it’d be a limited market.”

So why then should he not “say any more about cryptocurrency”, having said so much already? He did speak about cryptocurrency in January of this year and he’d clearly cooled, going for the commonly-used approach used by Bitcoin detractors, of separating crypto from the technology behind it. Talking to Bloomberg, he commented:

“The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that. ICOs you have to look at individually. The Bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about Bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Quite a different approach. So between January and August of this year, has his stance warmed even further, or possibly less cooled, towards a subject that in his own words he’s “not interested in? He said in his most recent interview:

“I probably shouldn’t say any more about cryptocurrency. But it’s not the same as gold or fiat currencies. Those are supported by law, police, courts. They’re not replicable, and there are strictures on them. Blockchain, on the other hand, is real. We’re testing it and will use it for a whole lot of things.”

Clearly the same stance as earlier in the year, but none of the previous venom of earlier statements that gained Dimon some unwanted notoriety from the cryptocurrency community at the time.

Some of his former executives clearly see things a different way. Daniel Masters, ex-chief of JPMorgan’s global energy trading has said that cryptocurrencies could no longer be ignored by central banks and governments. Amber Baldet, former head of the blockchain arm at Chase has suggested that banks trading in cryptocurrencies is imminent.

Perhaps the reason why so many of JPMorgan employees such as Baldet are creating their own startups is simply that they can see the potential for both blockchain and cryptocurrency in a future financial system, something that their old boss is still unable to do.


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Barclays Quash Crypto Trading Desk Rumour But Monitor Developments

Barclays bank has confirmed that it has no plans to set up a cryptocurrency trading desk as previously rumored.

British banking giant Barclays appears to be the latest to enter the blockchain arena, with Barclays UK recently announcing a new ventures unit to study “disruptive technology”. However, despite a report from CoinDesk earlier this month indicating that Barclays was monitoring client responses to the possibility of opening a trading desk for the cryptocurrency, the bank doesn’t appear ready to take the next step, and still seems to be monitoring the space.

Barclays’ spokesman Andrew Smith said in an emailed statement last month:

“We constantly monitor developments in the digital currency space and will continue to have a dialog with our clients on their needs and intentions in this market,”

In fact, Barclays CEO Jes Stately regards a move towards cryptocurrency as a “real challenge.” UK media outlet, Financial News, reports that the comments were made in response to shareholders’ questions, during the banks annual meeting. He commented:

“…on the one hand, there is the innovative side of it and wanting to stay in the forefront of technology’s improvement in finance… On the other side of it, there is the possibility of cryptocurrencies being used for activities that the bank wants to have no part of.”

It is exactly these activities the governments around the world are currently legislating against in order to make the cryptocurrency space both safe and fit for purpose. Stately says that the bank is looking into cryptocurrency related business, but sees the regulatory and compliance issues as something which needs addressing.

Other major banks such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have expresses concerns and strong views in the past and have often been scathing about bitcoin and other digital currencies. There are, however, ex-bank executives moving towards the new financial ktechnology.  Ex-chief of JPMorgan’s global energy trading desk, Daniel Masters, has recently suggested that cryptocurrencies could no longer be ignored by central banks and governments, adding that both the story and the technology is there and it is “convincing.”

Image Courtesy:  James Qube

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