DANIEL Pinto – co-president of JPMorgan Chase & Co – has admitted the finance giant “will have to be involved” in cryptocurrency.
The New York-based multinational has, up until recent weeks, kept its counsel over whether or not it had been paying attention to a growing global interest in Bitcoin and other digital assets.
However, this is the clearest signal yet from the banking behemoth that its bosses are taking crypto seriously.
Speaking with US television channel CNBC, Mr Pinto revealed that client demand among its thousands of investment customers wasn’t yet showing much interest in Bitcoin, but he felt that sentiment would change.
“If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved,” he explained.
“The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”
Insiders at JPMorgan have already revealed several staff meetings within the imposing walls of 383 Madison Avenue have been geared towards talk of Pinto and the senior management team being open minded about the future of digital finance and the role cryptocurrency should play.
The statement represents a polar shift in attitude from JPMorgan’s leaders. Four years ago, Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon branded Bitcoin “a fraud” and “worse than tulip bulbs”.
During a 2017 investors meeting, Mr Dimon is also reported to have said he would fire any employee trading Bitcoin on company accounts.
Mr Pinto’s contrasting views, however, are yet to be fully digested by analysts and cryptocurrency evangelists, but his words will no doubt be embraced – particularly given his standing in the banking world, and his impressive CV.
He began his career with JPMorgan in several of its predecessor companies – firstly as a trader at Buenos Aires-based Manufacturers Hanover in 1983, before being made Head of Sales at Chemical Bank. He then moved to London in 1996 overseeing much of the global markets for Chemical.
Three years ago, he was named Chief Operating Officer and Co-President of JPMorgan Chase. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute of International Finance.
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