What a Difference 2+ Years Make: JPMorgan Added Coinbase & Gemini as Banking Customers in April

TL;DR: The Wall Street Journal revealed startling news. After its infamously mouthy CEO publicly scorned cryptocurrency, the largest bank in the US, JPMorgan, quietly added leading exchanges Coinbase and Gemini as customers back in April.

JPMorgan Added Coinbase & Gemini as Banking Customers in April

As CoinSpice has noted previously, what a difference two and a half years make. Back in 2017, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon made headlines regularly by referring to the rise of cryptocurrencies as little more than a fad and worse. He even threatened to fire employees who dared dabble in the subject, and called the entire affair stupid and fraudulent. But that was in 2017. This is 2020.

And while enthusiasts have learned how, in dribs and drabs since, the leading investment bank has indeed made various crypto plays, substantive cracks appeared in February of this year. It’s so-called blockchain unit considered merging with Ethereum giant ConsenSys in a reported spin-off deal. Not more than a few weeks later, JPMorgan issued a 74-page report, noting the almost inevitability of “digital money” and the “emergence of linked databases” like blockchains “has turned the modernization of payments into a global theme.”

JPMorgan

Other, perhaps less obvious hints, came in the form of acquisitions of the people kind. Newly minted Bakkt CEO Mike Blandina, who’d only months earlier replaced outgoing co-founder Kelly Loeffler, bounced from the regulated physically delivered Bitcoin futures exchange (funded by the likes of ICE). His destination in late April? JPMorgan.

The latest wrinkle comes from WSJ crack crypto reporter Paul Vigna. Citing the ubiquitous person familiar with the matter, JPMorgan took-on Coinbase Inc. and Gemini Trust Co. at roughly the time Blandina was leaving Bakkt. Details are relatively scarce, but the relationships between the bank and two leading US crypto companies appear to be straight banking and not in the day-to-day exchange of cryptocurrencies per se.

Bitcoin Cash

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DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.