WASHINGTON — Two of the top executives on Wall Street criticized the digital currency bitcoin Friday, with J.P. Morgan Chase - Co. Chief Executive James Dimon giving a lengthy rant on the topic. He was joined briefly by Laurence Fink, chief executive of Blackrock Inc.
Here’s what they said at a conference hosted by the Institute of International Finance trade group:
Mr. Dimon: The blockchain technology, it is a good technology. You can actually use it. We actually use it. It will be useful for a lot of different things. God bless the blockchain.
Crypto currencies and digital currencies I think are also fine. J.P. Morgan moves $6 trillion around the world every day. We don’t do it in cash. We do it digitally. If we do it digitally through the blockchain, so be it. But it will be a dollar crypto currency. What I have an issue with is a non-fiat currency. Dollar [in digital form], sterling, euro, yen – they’re all fine.
I don’t personally see any value in something that has no actual value. You can all do whatever you want, I don’t care. I could care less what bitcoin trade for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it. If you’re stupid enough to buy it you will pay the price for it one day.
I have also told people that it can trade at $100,000 before it trades to zero. Tulip bulbs traded for $75,000 once, or something like that. The only value of bitcoin is what the other guy will pay for it. Honestly…a lot of the buyers are out there jazzing it up every day so that then you go buy it too. And take them out. I quite mean that, by the way. People are very good at manipulating the press these days. Every day now you see on CNBC, nonstop bitcoin. Who cares about bitcoin? I mean, you know, the world economy is so big. J.P. Morgan alone, we [move] $6 trillion, all that money, and bitcoin in total, all these currencies are $50 billion – maybe $1 billion in trades a day.
And the other thing that annoys me about bitcoin, governments. And this is not even a technological statement. Governments are going to crush it one day. Governments like to know where the money is, who has it, and what they’re doing with it. In case you haven’t noticed. Governments like to control their currency, they like to control their own economy. So China’s already put curbs on it. Japan, they say Japan, accepted bitcoin. No they didn’t. What I gather in Japan, they [accepted] J-Coin. It is a Yen cryptocurrency. It’s not a non-fiat. There’s a big difference.
People have said, legitimately, it is close to gold. No it’s not. Gold is limited, has been around a long time and is it close to a fiat currency? Not really. A fiat currency is when the government says, “This is your legal tender you have to give it and accept it.” And there’s a central bank. Now of course they could misuse it, the central bank, and inflate it. There is a use case for bitcoin, if you live in Venezuela, North Korea. If you’re criminal. Great product. And I mean that, it is better than cash and deposit in that country. Cuba.
But this is the last time I am ever going to answer a question about bitcoin again. After I made that stupid statement [about bitcoin], and got all over the front [pages] my daughter called me and said, “Dad, I own two bitcoins.” My formerly smart daughter.
Mr. Fink: Let me just say one thing on bitcoin. Bitcoin is an index for how much demand for money laundering there is in the world. That’s all it is. It’s an index of money laundering.