In a surprising reversal of its prior policy, JPMorgan will now allow its clients access to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. This service will center on a Bitcoin fund managed by fintech firm NYDIG, but clients will also have the option of investing in crypto funds run by Grayscale Investments and Osprey Funds.
This offering represents a substantial change of position for the storied firm. As recently as 2017, Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon referred to cryptocurrency as a fraud on par with historic scams such as the Dutch tulip bulb future crash of the 17th century.
Dimon’s concern has set JPMorgan apart from the pack: Morgan Stanley, as well as other large financial institutions, have made cryptocurrency-related services available to their clients for some time, with Goldman Sachs recently allowing trading in Ether, the second-biggest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.
Of course, some caginess is understandable considering cryptocurrency’s tumultuous recent history; this year saw Bitcoin values drop by more than 30% in May only to rise again following a Chinese crackdown on mining operations. However, there are also considerable signs that Bitcoin and its ilk will be a lasting part of the new diversified portfolio, with nearly half of young millionaires investing 25% or more of their wealth in cryptocurrencies.