Jamie Dimon on the cryptocurrency industry: “I’d close it down”

Jamie Dimon on the cryptocurrency industry: “I’d close it down”

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told lawmakers on Wednesday that he would pull the plug on the cryptocurrency industry if he had the power. 

“I’ve always been deeply opposed to crypto, bitcoin, etcetera,” he said in response to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., about the use of cryptocurrencies by terrorists, drug traffickers and rogue nations to finance their activities. “If I was the governments, I’d close it down.”

Dimon, regarded by many as America’s most prominent banker, said bad actors use digital currencies to launder money and dodge taxes, noting that cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated and hard to trace. He has long criticized the emerging crypto sector, once calling it a “fraud” and likening it to historical financial manias.

Warren said the nation’s banking laws need to be updated, but that lobbyists for the crypto industry are working to block legislation to tighten rules on digital currencies, including compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act. 

Dimon’s comments follow a tumultuous year for the crypto industry, including the November conviction of Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of bankrupt exchange FTC on multiple counts of fraud, and a $4.3 billion settlement with another major exchange, Binance, for its violation of anti-money laundering and U.S. government sanctions.

Dimon and other leading bank CEOs, who were on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a Senate hearing on regulating Wall Street, testified that their institutions have controls in place to detect and halt illicit crypto transactions.

Warren, a noted critic of Wall Street, urged the assembled financial executives to support the “Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2023,” a bill that would extend and toughen banking laws to prevent the use of crypto for money laundering, ransomware attacks, financial fraud and other illegal activities. 

Despite calls for a government crackdown, the price of the world’s most important cryptocurrency — bitcoin — has surged more than 150% this year to nearly $44,000, according to price tracker CoinDesk

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