JPMorgan CEO regrets calling bitcoin a fraud, and Kodak announces its own cryptocurrency

Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said Tuesday that he's still not very interested in cryptocurrencies.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said Tuesday that he’s still not very interested in cryptocurrencies.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Jamie Dimon is having second thoughts about wading into the bitcoin controversy.

The JPMorgan Chase & Co. chief executive, who earlier called the cryptocurrency a “fraud,” said Tuesday that he wishes he hadn’t dismissed the technology in such broad terms.

“I regret making” those comments, Dimon said in an interview with the Fox Business network. “The blockchain is real. You can have crypto yen and dollars and stuff like that.”

In September, Dimon said bitcoin was “worse than tulip bulbs” and threatened to fire any trader who bought or sold them for being “stupid.”


The 61-year-old CEO said Tuesday that he’s still not very interested in the subject and that he thinks government intervention may eventually hamper bitcoin’s growth and acceptance.

“The bitcoin to me was always what the governments are going to feel about bitcoin as it gets really big,” he said. “I just have a different opinion than other people. I’m not interested that much in the subject at all.”

The value of digital currencies has surged this year, with regulators and top bank executives taking note. The price of bitcoin, the most ubiquitous of the currencies, has more than tripled to $14,297 since Dimon made his comments in September.

Dimon reiterated in the interview that he believes in blockchain, the technology used for verifying and recording transactions that’s at the heart of cryptocurrencies. Experts have said blockchain technology could reshape the global financial system, and JPMorgan is testing potential use of the technology.


Initial coin offerings, however, “you have to look at individually,” he said in the interview.

Later on Tuesday, Eastman Kodak Co., which traces its roots to the early days of film-based photography, said it is getting into the digital licensing and cryptocurrency market as part of a partnership with WENN Digital.

The companies are launching blockchain technology with KodakOne and KodakCoin.

Rochester, N.Y.-based Kodak, founded in 1880, is the latest company to enter the cryptocurrency market


Recently, Long Island Iced Tea Corp. said it plans to change its name to Long Blockchain Corp., as it wants to focus more on blockchain technology, while continuing to make beverages.

The Kodak systems will enable photographers to register work that they can license and then receive payment. The initial coin offering will open Jan. 31.

Shares of Kodak more than doubled Tuesday, surging 119.4% to $6.80. But compared with a year earlier, it was still down 55.6%.

“Engaging with a new platform, it is critical photographers know their work and their income is handled securely and with trust, which is exactly what we did with KODAKCoin,” CEO Jeff Clarke said.


Kodak and others are entering the market as warnings grow over the riskiness of virtual currencies and the potential for a bubble. There are no regulations over the creation and use of virtual currencies, and the nature of the transactions make them hard to trace.

Bloomberg and the Associated Press were used in compiling this report.


2:05 p.m.: This article was updated with Kodak stock’s closing price.


This article was originally published at 11:55 a.m.