Dimon: I regret calling bitcoin a fraud

Dimon: I regret calling bitcoin a fraud
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JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has walked back his criticism of bitcoin, saying its underlying technology could be useful for financial markets.

Dimon told Fox Business in an interview aired Tuesday that he regrets calling the cryptocurrency “a fraud,” but that he’s still “not interested that much in the subject at all.”

Dimon in September threatened to fire Chase employees that invested the bank’s money in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin prices were cruising upward at the time, months before cryptocurrency values skyrocketed.

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Dimon’s bank has since explored bitcoin futures trading and a blockchain-based payments system.

“The blockchain is real,” Dimon said Tuesday, referring to the distributed ledger technology that underpins bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

While some investors and bank chiefs have been skeptical of cryptocurrencies, they’ve lauded blockchain as a promising way to speed up payments and contracts.

“You can have cryptodollars in yen and stuff like that. [Initial coin offerings] you have to look at individually," Dimon said.

“The bitcoin to me was always what the governments are gonna feel about bitcoin as it gets really big, and I just have a different opinion than other people.”

Dimon also lauded the GOP rewrite of the tax code passed in December, which dropped the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. Dozens of U.S. banks already boasting record profits have promised bonuses, raises or additional benefits for employees to be funded with savings from the new tax rate.

Chase, the most valuable bank in the world, hasn’t said what it plans to do with the savings. Dimon said Chase “may do something” to boost employee compensation, but that short-term gains shouldn’t be the focus of the bill.

“I think one of the mistakes that people make is [focusing on] what’s the impact tomorrow,” Dimon said.

“It’s going to have a huge cumulative effect. I’m actually kind of surprised when people say having an uncompetitive tax system will be good for America.”

Dimon chairs the Business Roundtable, an advocacy group of corporate CEOs that pushed lawmakers to pass the tax overhaul.