JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon made headlines last week for his harsh words on cryptocurrencies, and he saved special vitriol for bitcoin in particular. Of the largest digital currency in the world, the banking boss said the entire enterprise was a "fraud" and suggested he would fire any employee who was caught trading a digital currency because that employee would be "stupid" for doing so. (See more: Jamie Dimon Calls Bitcoin a 'Fraud.')
Now, Bitcoin.com reveals that JP Morgan has been routing customer orders for XBT shares, exchange-traded notes that track the price of bitcoin. In an interview with Reuters, JP Morgan spokesman Brian Marchiony said, “They are not JPMorgan orders... These are clients purchasing third-party products directly.”
JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley Buy Bitcoin ETNs
Reports suggest that both JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley have recently routed client orders for XBT note shares. The information comes via public records of Nordnet trading logs.
According to Bitcoin.com, JP Morgan routed the most XBT shares of all of the big banks included in the list of purchasers.
Bitcoin ETNs have become a popular means of investing in the cryptocurrency among mainstream investors and large-scale financial firms looking to add exposure in the area. Bitcoin-tracking ETNs follow bitcoin price movements as compared with major currencies like the euro and the U.S. dollar. Generally, bitcoin ETNs have provided exceptionally strong results so far in 2017, which isn't surprising, considering the rapid growth of the currency itself over the course of the year.
JP Morgan Also Involved in Blockchain
Dimon's firm is also involved in the recent uptick in blockchain interest increasingly common amongst big banks. (See more: How Blockchain Technology is Changing Real Estate.)
JP Morgan has applied for a "bitcoin alternative" patent in the United States more than 175 times since 2013. The company is also reportedly developing a blockchain based on the ethereum system.
All of these developments suggest that there may be more overlap between the world of traditional Wall Street finance and cryptocurrencies than some investors are willing to let on. Investors have generally been divided over their approach to currencies like bitcoin, with some quickly rallying behind the new investment area and others, like Dimon, speaking out against it.
Concerns about a bitcoin and cryptocurrency bubble are commonly heard, and extreme volatility in the cryptocurrency space suggests that the proposition of investing is risky. But there also have been many opportunities for investors of all types to make a substantial amount of money through digital currency investments.