JPMorgan Chase president and chief operating officer Daniel Pinto and Standard Chartered group chief executive Bill Winters were in disagreement at Hong Kong Fintech Week on Monday over how significant Bitcoin and the wider crypto industry are.

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Fast facts

  • “Bitcoin for us, I’d say the best word to describe it is ‘irrelevant,’ it’s not good or bad,” said Pinto, adding that they have few clients interested in the industry.
  • Pinto also promoted the bank’s ability to use “blockchain through the JP Morgan Coin” to help companies “optimize their liquidity,” arguing it will be the role of institutional banks to manage “digital securities and stable currencies and CBDCs.”
  • Winters disagreed with Pinto’s take on Bitcoin’s potential, saying: “I agree with Danny on the overall scheme of things, but there is an institutional application for cryptocurrencies, and that overwhelmingly is in Bitcoin and Ether. It’s small, but it’s not irrelevant.” 
  • Winters noted the limits to cryptocurrency’s potential, saying that from the beginning tokenized assets were “never suitable as part of the financial plumbing,” but are rather solely another addition to investors’ portfolios.
  • Pinto’s comments on cryptocurrency are the latest in a long line of critical statements from JP Morgan on the industry’s legitimacy, despite establishing an entire blockchain division, Onyx, in 2020 and last week hiring former Celsius executive Aaron Lovine as executive director of digital assets regulatory policy.

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