JPMorgan Will “Look Into” Cryptocurrency, According to Co-President

For JPMorgan Chase, cryptocurrency has become too compelling to ignore. Co-President Jerry Pinto confirmed Wednesday that the mega bank will “look into” digital assets in the near future, signaling a profound shift in institutional thinking on the matter.

Cryptocurrencies Will “Play a Role” in the Future

Speaking to CNBC, Pinto said cryptocurrencies will play an important role in the future of finance.  He also confirmed that JPMorgan has the capacity to clear bitcoin futures but has yet to do so.

Pinto indicated that cryptocurrencies must evolve in order to become viable financial products.

“Cryptocurrencies are real but not in the current form,” he said, as quoted by CoinTelegraph.

“The tokenization of the economy, for me, is real,” he added.

Many consider Pinto to be a leading candidate for Chairman of JPMorgan once Jamie Dimon steps down.

Mixed Signals

JPMorgan has given mixed signals about its intent to participate in the crypto market. The bank’s now infamous Chairman Jamie Dimon has attacked cryptocurrencies repeatedly, calling people who buy it “stupid.” The bank has also barred customers from purchasing digital currencies using its credit cards.

At the same time, the bank’s top executives, including Dimon, have spoked about the benefits of blockchain technology. Earlier this month, it was reported that JPMorgan was seeking a patent for using blockchain to facilitate and reconcile transactions.

In an application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office submitted last October, JPMorgan outlined am interbank payment system driven by peer-to-peer technology. According to JPMorgan, distributed ledgers would provide “a unique system for recording transactions and storing data.”

The application stated the following:

“In one embodiment, a method for processing network payments using a distributed ledger may include: (1) a payment originator initiating a payment instruction to a payment beneficiary; (2) a payment originator bank posting and committing the payment instruction to a distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; (3) the payment beneficiary bank posting and committing the payment instruction to the distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; and (4) the payment originator bank validating and processing the payment through a payment originator bank internal system and debiting an originator account.”

With Goldman Sachs leading Wall Street into the cryptocurrency market, there’s strong reason to believe that competitors like JPMorgan are looking into the matter with a greater sense of urgency. Digital assets peaked in value at around $840 billion earlier this year and exchanges like Coinbase are betting that institutions will drive the next leg of the rally.

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.

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi