JPMorgan, the most valuable bank by market cap – approximately $430 billion – is among the banks that are being forced to compete with bitcoin and its recent stellar run that drew huge attention and adoption from investors.
The pressure is not coming from outside but from within: the employees.
What it takes for JPMorgan to offer BTC trading
JPMorgan’s Global Markets Head Troy Rohrbaugh acknowledged last month during a town hall meeting that employees are increasingly asking when the investment bank will join the bitcoin bandwagon.
As more corporations and fintech firms turn to bitcoin at a higher rate, those that remain rigid run the risk of being left behind by their competitors.
Rohrbaugh called on his senior, Daniel Pinto, the bank’s Co-president to respond to the questions, people close to the matter told CNBC.
Pinto said that he was open to bitcoin and the bank’s position would be determined by the number of clients interested in trading the digital asset.
“If over time an asset class develops that is going to be used by different asset managers and investors, we will have to be involved,” he said in an interview.
“The demand isn’t there yet, but I’m sure it will be at some point.”
Other big banks are looking at crypto
JPMorgan is one of the several banks looking into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Last week, Goldman Sachs hosted a forum with Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, for clients and employees.
Novogratz pitched bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to them in a virtual event that lasted 90 minutes.
Banks, which face great regulatory scrutiny, have been reluctant to embrace the crypto space, mainly because the nascent industry has been portrayed as a vehicle for facilitating illicit financial activities.
Will they come to the party?
If one of the largest banks in the U.S. decides to enter the crypto market, it would be a major endorsement for the market.
Several banks such as Goldman thought of entering the crypto space during the 2017 boom, but in the end, they put their plans on hold.
JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon once called bitcoin a fraud.