Jamie Dimon on the cryptocurrency industry: “I would shut 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, etc.,” he said in response to a question from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D.-Mass., about the use of cryptocurrencies by terrorists, drug traffickers and rogue states to finance their activities. “If I were the governments, I would shut it down.”

Dimon, considered by many to be America’s most prominent banker, said bad actors use digital currencies to launder money and evade taxes, noting that cryptocurrency remains largely unregulated and difficult to trace. He has long criticized the burgeoning crypto sector, once calling it a “scam” and comparing it to historical financial manners.

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

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

Dimon and other top bank executives, who were on Capitol Hill Wednesday for a Senate hearing hearing to regulate Wall Street, testified that their institutions have controls in place to detect and stop illegal 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 which would expand and tighten 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 main cryptocurrency – bitcoin – has risen more than 150% this year to nearly $44,000, according to price tracker CoinDesk.

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