- JPMorgan will now be offering Bitcoin to its retail clients, expanding the product it has been offering its ultra-wealthy clients.
- The bank is the first in the U.S to do so and with the new product, Bitcoin has a new $630 billion market to exploit.
JPMorgan has made cryptocurrency history by becoming the first bank in the U.S to offer Bitcoin to retail clients. As per a new report, the bank will be expanding a product it has been offering its ultra-wealthy clients and with this, it opens up Bitcoin to a new $630 billion market.
The decision to expand its Bitcoin products was made earlier this week, Business Insider reveals. Citing sources inside the bank, the publication revealed that the New York-based bank sent a memo to its financial advisors telling them to accept buy and sell orders from its wealth management clients for five crypto products.
Of the five products, four are offered by crypto giant Grayscale. These are its Bitcoin Trust, its Bitcoin Cash Trust, its Ethereum Trust and its Ethereum Classic products. The only crypto product that isn’t by Grayscale that JPMorgan will offer its clients is the Osprey Funds’ Bitcoin Trust.
Osprey Funds, which operates two other trusts – Polkadot and Algorand – expressed its excitement at the inclusion through its founder and CEO Greg King. Speaking to Forbes, he stated:
We are excited to be onboarded to the JPMorgan wealth platform. OBTC remains the lowest-priced publicly traded bitcoin fund in the U.S. and we believe JPMorgan’s clients will see value in the product.
If you can’t beat them, join them
According to Business Insider, JPMorgan’s advisors are only allowed to execute unsolicited crypto trades. They can’t recommend products – they only sell and buy on behalf of the clients.
The crypto products will be available to all clients looking for investment advice, including those who use its Chase trading app. It will also be available to affluent clients of its JPMorgan Advisors division. This is in addition to its top-tier clients, who are the richest individuals it serves under its private bank.
JPMorgan, which is the largest bank in the U.S and the sixth-largest globally, has been allowing its clients to invest in an actively managed Bitcoin fund. Crypto firm NYDIG provided the custody services for the fund.
And while it’s now expanding its crypto products, JPMorgan has not always been a big fan. In fact, its CEO Jamie Dimon still isn’t too excited by the decentralized currencies. Back in 2017, he threatened to fire employees who traded BTC, the same product he is now urging them to trade for clients.
He was also a vocal critic of the industry. He once attacked BTC stating, “I’m not a bitcoin supporter. I don’t care about bitcoin. I have no interest in it. On the other hand, clients are interested, and I don’t tell clients what to do.”
This has become the bank’s attitude towards crypto – if you can’t beat them, join them.
This week, the bank’s Asset and Wealth Management CEO Mary Callahan told Bloomberg:
A lot of our clients say that’s an asset class and I want to invest. Our job is to help them to put their money where they want to invest.
In Argentina, several businesses accept payments in BTC, DOGE, other cryptos
Imagine going on vacation and being able to pay both your Uber driver and Airbnb host with crypto. This sounds like a fantasy for many but is reportedly now a reality for users in Argentina.
Regional news publications announced that the crypto company Bitrefill was offering 138 prepaid cards in order to pay to different businesses. Some taking part in the initiative include Frávega, Lacoste, Dexter, Isadora, Cheeky, Airbnb, Uber, Movistar, Claro, and Personal.
Users can pay in six different cryptocurrencies, which are Bitcoin [BTC], Ether [ETH], Dogecoin [DOGE], Litecoin [LTC], Tether [USDT], and Dash [DASH]. However, in order to use the card, assets are first converted to dollars or euros, and then converted again to Argentine Pesos [ARS] to complete the transaction.
What does Bitrefill’s initiative reveal about the state of crypto adoption in Argentina? Data may hold the answer. The Blockchain LatAm Report 2021 by Sherlock Communications stated,
“…66% of respondents were most concerned with protecting their savings. This reflects recent inflation rates in the country: 36.1% in 2020 and 53.8% in 2019, the highest in 28 years.”
Furthermore, as people in Argentina are legally restricted from buying more than a small and taxable amount of U.S. dollars every month, the attraction of crypto is easy to understand. Adding to this, there are around 20 legal crypto exchanges in the country, and one of them – Ripio – hit a million users in 2020.
However, it’s worth noting that there is a tax of 15% on income gained from selling digital currencies. At the last count, there were 12 Bitcoin ATMs/tellers in Argentina. Out of these, 11 were located in Buenos Aires.
Not just a shopping spree…
Apart from crypto adoption, companies are also eyeing the country as a destination for Bitcoin mining. One major reason for this is the cheap cost of electricity in Argentina, with subsidies for the same.
In October, the Canada-based Bitfarms announced that it was constructing a 210 megawatt BTC mining farm in Argentina. More than 55,000 new mining rigs are expected to be on-site. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Argentina’s share of the average monthly hashrate in August 2021 was 0.05%.
Hedge Fund Billionaire Paul Tudor Jones Says Gold Losing the Race Against Crypto As Inflation Hedge
Hedge fund billionaire Paul Tudor Jones says that crypto is currently his preferred way of hedging against inflation.
In a new interview with CNBC, Jones says that crypto has acted as a great hedge as of late and is winning the race against gold.
“Crypto has been a great hedge… I said then, I said now, I’ve got crypto in single digits in my portfolio. I have a small trading position in our fund. I do think we’re moving into an increasingly digitized world. Clearly, there’s a place for crypto, and clearly, it’s winning the race against gold at the moment. So yes, I would think that would also be a very good inflation hedge. It would be my preferred one over gold at the moment.”
The billionaire, who heads investment management firm Tudor Investment Corporation, says that while the new Bitcoin futures exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a regulated and legitimate product, he thinks a better investment is to own physical BTC.
“I think a better way to get in would be to actually own physical Bitcoin, to take the time to learn how to own it and carry it. I think the ETF will be fine. I think the fact that it’s SEC approved should give you great comfort.”
The investor says that embracing Bitcoin is part of the American character and that China’s refusal to do so may have economic consequences for the country in the future.
“I think crypto is here to stay. Look, this is the United States of America right? The reason we’re the most dominant economic power [in] the world is because we unleash our individual entrepreneurialism and creativity. And you’re seeing China do the exact opposite. That place is on, economically, a slow boat to the South Pole. As long as the US can continue to unchain our entrepreneurs, we’re going to always be in the dominant position.”
The Real Opportunity for Bitcoin and Crypto Will Come From This Group of Investors, Says Shark Tank Star Kevin O’Leary
Shark Tank investor Kevin O’Leary says that a group of investors could transform Bitcoin (BTC) and the crypto markets when they decide to allocate capital to the space.
In a new interview with Bitcoin bull Anthony Pompliano on The Best Business Show, the celebrity investor says that there will be a massive opportunity for crypto once sovereign funds in the Middle East invest in digital assets.ADVERTISEMENT
“The real opportunity is not with the family offices or hedge funds that operate out of the Middle East. The real money is in the actual sovereign funds in both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It’s billions and billions and billions of dollars.
They have not allocated to crypto yet. When that happens, you’ll see it reflected in the price of Bitcoin. There’s no question about it. They have such long-term views in those funds, and the funds are so large.”
O’Leary says that given the size and number of the funds, even a 1% allocation would have an impact on the markets.
“They generally abide by discipline and principles of risk diversification, so they may have a mandate, for example, that no stock represent more than 5% of the fund or no sector more than 20%. Those are diversification mandates that are used all around the world, and they do that there, too.
But when you’re dealing with a multi-billion dollar mandate, and some of these, they’re the largest pools of capital in the world. A 1% allocation is a tremendous amount of money.”
The investor says at the moment, Bitcoin is the only digital asset on the sovereign funds’ radar. He predicts that they could easily decide to allocate 1-3% just on BTC.
“I speak to those guys almost every day. They would immediately go to 1% to 3% on Bitcoin alone. Just Bitcoin, let alone Ethereum or any level-1 or level-2s on the chain. They haven’t even thought about that. They’re just thinking about Bitcoin and owning that as an asset. The amount of capital that will come into this market when the regulator approves Bitcoin as an asset or currency or a security, or whatever they’re going to regulate it as is going to be unbelievable.”