“We’re finally recognizing that crypto is just another opportunity in our financial future, rather than seeing it as a kind of misfit or unacceptable type of industry,” says Catherine Coley, CEO of Binance.US.
“I take it as a very positive signal. We’ve seen specialist banks before being established to specifically support crypto, because traditional banks were not taking crypto businesses seriously,” Coley said.
This, she noted, led to the growth of specific banks that supported crypto or crypto marketplaces as “specialized businesses.” Some of these gained significant traction, as with the crypto-focused California-based commercial bank, Silvergate, which saw strong Q1 growth this year and went public last fall. Coley said:
“I think that was a strong, prior signaling that crypto businesses actually do have traditional revenue models, are consistent businesses involving real assets and real customers with real business models.”
JPMorgan now looks at the likes of Coinbase “as if it’s just another business,” Coley said, something she regards as an “extremely positive” development.
Spotlight on Jamie Dimon
Prior to the bank’s announcement, JPMorgan chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon had established himself as one of cryptocurrencies’ staunchest critics. The contended that Bitcoin is little more than a speculative bubble — “worse than tulip bulbs” — and predicted that its story “won’t end well.”
“It’s unfortunate for Dimon that it was so public,” Coley said, but “that’s how everyone’s journey with Bitcoin began. You know, disbelief, confusion, education, understanding, acceptance… obsession.”
While there’s no clear sign yet that Dimon’s truce with the coin has tipped over into obsession, Coley emphasized that the evolution of the bank’s position should not be overlooked. The number of stakeholders that a bulge bracket bank like JPMorgan has to factor into their decision making is “enormous,” she noted:
“Look how the tables have turned! It’s interesting to have seen the evolution of his stance in real time. This acceptance phase that we’re in now will lead to broader adoption, to more mainstream opportunities; prior skepticism has switched to seeing us as trusted businesses.”