Jamie Dimon Gets Crypto Fever as JPMorgan Develops Stablecoin; Bitcoin Fundamental Improve
JPMorgan Chase & Co, America’s largest bank by a significant margin, shocked the crypto landscape this week by unveiling a new stablecoin project designed to enhance its $6 trillion payment market. For CEO Jamie Dimon, the launch of ‘JPM Coin’ is a significant departure from the anti-crypto tirades of 2017-18. While JPM Coin may not be a cryptocurrency by the traditional sense of the term, its creation comes on the heels of a blockchain revolution that started ten years ago with the launch of bitcoin – the same asset Dimon derided as a “fraud.”
Introducing JPM Coin
On Thursday, JPMorgan Chase unveiled a new stablecoin geared toward enhancing its multi-trillion-dollar payments business. JPM Coin will help clients reduce the cost, risk and processing time associated with cross-border payments. In doing so, it takes a playbook out of Ripple Labs, whose institutional clients are leveraging XRP technology to streamline global payment networks.
As a stablecoin, JPM Coin has a fixed value pegged to the U.S. dollar. The bank said it will support other major currencies in the future. No further details were provided.
In an official press release, the bank said: “We have always believed in the potential of blockchain technology and we are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated.”
Bitcoin Volatility Drops, Transactions Rise
Although bitcoin’s price failed to attract bids this week, the network’s underlying fundamentals continued to improve. As Hacked reported on Thursday, bitcoin’s January transactions reached their highest level in a year and were nearing levels not seen since the bull market in 2017. At the same time, median fees plunged to their lowest levels since 2015.
The data were presented in a weekly cryptocurrency publication by Diar.
On the price front, bitcoin continued to find support near $3,600. Trade volumes remained elevated throughout the week, only falling below $6 billion on Friday. Average volatility over the past 30 days has fallen to the lowest level in three months, according to data from bitvol.info. Volatility has been in firm retreat since mid-December, right around the time bitcoin established new lows near $3,100.
After surging by $10 billion last Friday, the total cryptocurrency market was little changed this week. At last check, the combined market capitalization was $120.5 billion.
Trump to Declare National Emergency
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to approve a new budget deal on Friday that avoids a second government shutdown, but will only do so after declaring a national emergency over border funding. By declaring a national emergency, the president can divert funds from the Department of Defence toward the construction of a new border-security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress reached a tentative budget deal late Monday that included $1.38 billion in additional funding for border security. That’s only enough to fund an additional 55 miles of border protection and does not include appropriations for the steel barrier the president proposed. Trump wants $5.7 billion for a steel barrier that extends for 234 miles.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who broke the news on Thursday, said he supports the declaration. However, the plan has been met with criticism from both parties, with Democrats vowing to challenge any efforts to move money without congressional approval.
The Week Ahead
Crypto winter is in a deep freeze at the moment. The landscape has grown colder in recent months as traders continue to discount major fundamental developments centered on adoption and institutional investment. This is further evidenced by the lack of response to JPM Coin, whose creation may usher a new era of legitimacy for crypto projects – at least, in the eyes of traditional finance.
While things are pretty much status quo in crypto and, traditional markets will be forced to contend with the fallout from President Trump’s national emergency as well as ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China. These factors could present new risks for Wall Street’s bullish revival since Boxing Day.
Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.