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Jamie Dimon says if you're 'stupid' enough to buy bitcoin, you'll pay the price one day

  • Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, says Thursday he's "not going to talk about bitcoin anymore" after causing a stir in September by calling the digital currency a "fraud."
  • But on Friday, Dimon responds to a question about bitcoin by saying if people are "stupid enough to buy it," they will pay the price for it in the future.
  • The banking executive did say he believes the blockchain technology behind bitcoin is valid.

JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon can't stop talking about bitcoin.

"If you're stupid enough to buy it, you'll pay the price for it one day," Dimon said in response to a moderator question at an Institute of International Finance conference Friday.

The CEO said he could care less about what bitcoin trades at. "The only value of bitcoin is what the other guy'll pay for it," Dimon said. "Honestly I think there's a good chance of the buyers out there are out there jazzing it up every day so that maybe you'll buy it too, and take them out."

Bitcoin hit a record high Friday above $5,800, up more than six times in price for the year.

On Thursday, Dimon said during a post-earnings conference call with media that he's "not going to talk about bitcoin anymore." The executive called bitcoin a "fraud" in September and said it "won't end well."

But the outspoken captain of industry apparently couldn't help himself.

Dimon did add on Friday that he believed the blockchain technology behind bitcoin was valid, but he does not understand the value of "non-fiat" digital coins, that is, digital currencies that are not backed by a government.

"Who cares about bitcoin? The world economy is so big," Dimon said, noting the bank moves about $6 trillion in money around the world every day.

In comparison, bitcoin only has a market capitalization of less than $100 billion. Twenty-four hour trading volume in bitcoin-U.S. dollars was $3.7 billion Friday, according to CoinMarketCap.

"This is the last time I'm ever going to answer any questions about bitcoin, because I really don't care," Dimon said on Friday.

"When I made that 'stupid statement' [calling bitcoin a] fraud, my daughter sent me an email saying, 'Dad, I own two bitcoins,'" Dimon then joked, "My formerly smart daughter."

Here's a transcript of some of Dimon's comments:

"I could care less about bitcoin. I don't know why I said anything about it. The blockchain is a technology which is a good technology. We actually use it. It will be useful in a lot of different things. God bless the blockchain. Cryptocurrencies, digital currencies, I think are also fine. JPMorgan moves $6 trillion around the world every day, and we don't do it in cash, it's done digitally. If it can be done digitally with the blockchain, so be it. But it will still be a dollar cryptocurrency. What I have an issue with is a non-fiat cryptocurrency. So crypto sterling, euro, yen, they are all fine. I don't personally understand the value of something that has no actual value. You all can do whatever you want and I don't care.

"I could care less what bitcoin trades for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it. If you're stupid enough to buy it, you'll pay the price for it one day. I've also told people that it can trade at $100,000 before it trades to zero. Tulip bulbs traded for $75,000 or something like that.

"The only value of bitcoin is what the other guy'll pay for it. Honestly I think there's a good chance a lot of the buyers out there are out there jazzing it up every day so that maybe you'll buy it too, and take them out.

"I quite mean that by the way. People are very good at manipulating the press these days and getting news out. Every day, you have CNBC, nonstop bitcoin — Who cares about bitcoin? The world economy's so big, JPMorgan alone, $6 trillion, we move all this money, and bitcoin in total, all these currencies, $50 billion dollars, maybe a billion dollars trades a day.

"The other thing I've always [said] about bitcoin, governments — and this is not a technological statement — governments are going to crush it one day. Governments like to know where the money is, who has it and what you're doing with it, in case you haven't noticed. Right?

"And governments like to control their currency, 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 Japan did was they call it J-coin. It's a yen cryptocurrency. It's not a non-fiat [digital currency].

"People have said legitimately ok, it's close to gold. Not really. Gold is limited, it's been around for along time. [People also say bitcoin is] close to a fiat currency. Not really. A fiat currency is when a government says this is your legal tender, you have to give it and accept it.

"And a central bank — of course they can misuse it. The central bank [can also] inflate it. So there is a use case for bitcoin. If you live in Venezuela, North Korea, if you're a criminal, great product. I mean that. It's better than cash or deposits in that country. Cuba.

"But this is the last time I'm ever going to answer questions about bitcoin because I really don't care.

"When I made that 'stupid statement' [calling bitcoin a] fraud, my daughter sent me an email saying, 'Dad, I own two bitcoins.' My formerly smart daughter."

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