Remember when Jamie Dimon swore that any JPMorgan employee caught trading bitcoin would be “fired for being stupid?” Let’s just pretend that never happened.
Two weeks after Goldman revealed it has hired Justin Schmidt, 38, as the bank’s new head cryptocurrency trader, JPMorgan – worried it is falling far behind its peers in cryptocurrency market share – recently created and filled the new position of head of “cryptocurrency strategy”, asking the London-based Executive Director Oliver Harris, 29, to head the bank’s “crypto asset strategy”, Financial News first reported.
Rather than actively trading cryptocurrencies – positions JPM will also fill shortly – Harris will be identifying and leading new crypto projects for the bank according to CoinTelegraph, and will investigate crypto custody services and how blockchain could work in JPMorgan’s payments business as he notes in his LInkedin profile.
The 29-year-old will report to Umar Farooq, the head of blockchain initiatives at the corporate and investment bank. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank that’s rumored to be preparing for a spinoff.
For the last two years, Harris has been leading JPMorgan’s In Residence program, which identifies and partners with fintech startups that the bank finds promising.
Daniel Pinto, co-president of JPMorgan, has recently taken a positive stance on cryptocurrencies in an interview with CNBC, claiming that the “tokenization” of the financial system is “real”, with “many central banks looking into” it. However, Pinto stressed that crypto adoption is not possible in its “current form”.
JPMorgan – which in February published the first “Bitcoin Bible“- has undergone a dramatic shift in its take on cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan banned its customers from crypto purchases with credit cards back in February, in addition to including cryptocurrencies to the “Risk Factor” section of its 2017 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
As noted above, it all started last year, when CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin (BTC) a “fraud” and claimed that he would fire any employee trading BTC on the company’s accounts.
Dimon then reversed his position in January, admitting that he regretted his earlier statements and adopting a lukewarm stance toward crypto.
Dimon then said he is, “not interested that much in [crypto] at all.”
It turns out that was a lie as well.