JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon continues to Wall Street’s biggest bitcoin critic while legendary investor Warren Buffet joins the hate wagon.
Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett have been spending time together this week. As two of Wall Street’s highest-profile figures, the two billionaires penned a joint editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, offering their take on why short-termism in the practice of revealing quarterly earnings among public companies is hurting the economy.
Appearing in televised joint interview on CNBC that aired Thursday, both Dimon and Buffett were reminded of their widely-publicized criticisms of bitcoin.
“You both have said some pretty nasty things about bitcoin recently,” the CNBC host said with subtlety, adding: “Which one of you hates bitcoin more?”
“I set a high standard,” Berkshire Hathway Chairman and chief executive Warren Buffett said in response. The business magnate has delivered several withering criticisms in the past including calling bitcoin a ‘real bubble’, suggesting cryptocurrencies will see a “bad ending”, suggesting investing in bitcoin is akin to gambling and most infamous of all, calling bitcoin “rat poison squared” as recently as May.
“I don’t know whether Jamie can top me or not,” Buffett added.
Offering his take, Dimon was more measured than his own previous critiques, stating:
“I don’t want to be a bitcoin spokesman, you know. Just beware.”
Dimon has been a vocal critic of bitcoin for years, calling the cryptocurrency “a waste of time” in 2015 among other remarks that followed. In September 2017, Dimon notoriously labelled bitcoin ‘a fraud’, a statement the Wall Street banker has since come to regret.
Meanwhile, JP Morgan’s own annual report filed with the SEC in 2017 revealed the bank privately acknowledges disruptive cryptocurrencies like bitcoin as a threat to its business model.
“I’d fire them in a second,” Dimon publicly said of JP Morgan traders engaging in cryptocurrencies last year. “For two reasons. It’s against our rules and they’re stupid. And both are dangerous.”
As it turns out, JPMorgan has now tasked its FinTech programme head to formulate the bank’s crypto strategy, eight months on from Dimon’s ‘fraud’ warning.