JPMorgan Becomes the First U.S. Bank to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency
JPMorgan Chase & Co, America’s largest bank, is launching its own cryptocurrency. Dubbed ‘JPM Coin,’ the new cryptoasset has a fixed value tied to the U.S. dollar.
Introducing JPM Coin
JPMorgan Chase unveiled its new cryptocurrency in an official press release on Thursday. JPM Coin, which has a fixed value redeemable for one U.S. dollar, will lower the cost, risk and processing time of money transfers. The bank operates a massive wholesale payment business, with more than $6 trillion in client funds transferred each day.
The bank used the press release to clarify its position on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology: “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,” the bank said.
Over time, JPM Coin will be “extended to other major currencies,” it added.
The release date for the new stablecoin hasn’t been confirmed, but the bank said it is working with regulators to solicit feedback and approvals.
Cryptocurrency is Here to Stay
JPMorgan’s entry into the cryptocurrency market is a significant departure for the bank, whose CEO has been among the most vocal critics of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Jamie Dimon, the bank’s CEO, called bitcoin a “fraud” back in 2017. He later regretted those comments and said so publicly, but reaffirmed his lack of interest in bitcoin.
While Jamie Dimon was bashing bitcoin, competitors like Morgan Stanley were quietly clearing bitcoin futures contracts for clients. The market for bitcoin futures has picked up steadily since CBOE and CME Group first launched their respective contracts back in December 2017. In just a few months from now, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) will launch its very own bitcoin futures contract with physical delivery of the cryptocurrency. Nasdaq is also planning to launch its own crypto derivatives market focused on bitcoin.
Meanwhile, global asset manager Fidelity Investments is investing in a cryptocurrency exchange and launching a new custody service for bitcoin investors. The firm is already working with a “select set of eligible clients” and is planning further expansion of crypto custody solution in the next several months. Custody solutions involve a third party holding onto securities to eliminate the risk of loss or theft. This service provides a more reliable mechanism for trading and storing bitcoin.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is also said to be working on a range of crypto service offerings, including a bitcoin trading desk. However, the investment bank has put its plans on hold due to complex regulatory processes.
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.
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