Last September seems a lifetime ago in the cryptoverse. Remember when people were freaking out because Bitcoin had reached $4,000 per coin? It was then that Jamie Dimon, the CEO of financial services behemoth JP Morgan, called Bitcoin a “fraud”, just as the price began to drop strongly. He warned investors that they were going to lose out, but the price rose from $3,000 to almost $20,000 just after he spoke in barely more than two months – 500%+ isn’t a bad return for sitting tight for a few weeks, is it? I strongly criticized Dimon at the time, pointing out that Bitcoin was no more a fraud than national fiat currencies than the U.S. Dollar. However, I also pointed out that Dimon might be right about the price of Bitcoin becoming an inflated bubble which wouldn’t end well, although the jury is still out today on that issue.
Dimon has weighed in again on Bitcoin. It has been incorrectly reported that he backtracked on his comments of last September. What he truly said in response to a question about Bitcoin becoming a shadow currency, is “It’s just not gonna happen.” Why? To paraphrase, because national governments / central banks simply will not let it happen, because it will take away their ability to control the money supply. In the major economies, governments and legislatures will simply make cryptocurrencies illegal, and will succeed in suppressing their use by at least as much as is necessary to effectively stop it. He also said that the technology behind cryptocurrencies, blockchain, will be used and will be important.
In our time, I think we are suffering from a “neomania” when it comes to cryptocurrencies. There is a messianic belief in them and a huge and sudden rise in price. Some say that national governments will not be able to stop cryptocurrencies. Yet, I have never heard a truly convincing explanation as to why they won’t. I think Dimon is right here. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trade Bitcoin or even invest in it, as its crunch point may not come for a long time yet. I personally believe that a currency with a fixed supply such as Bitcoin would be hugely preferable to the use of fiat currencies. I just don’t think that governments are going to give up their existing power to effectively inflate away their debts, and to manipulate the economy through control of the money supply and interest rate.