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Jamie Dimon Says He’ll “Defend Your Right to Buy Bitcoin” After Price Pump

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JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon believes citizens should have every right to buy Bitcoin (BTC) if they want to – even if it’s a haven for criminal activity.

“I defend your right to smoke a cigarette, [and] I’ll defend your right to buy a Bitcoin,” said Dimon at the Australian Financial Review summit in Sydney, according to the Financial Review.

Would Jamie Dimon Still Ban Bitcoin?

The executive’s words starkly contrast with what he told the Senate Banking Committee in December, stating “If I were the government, I’d close it down,” regarding crypto.

At the time, he argued that the digital currency’s primary use cases include drug trafficking, money laundering, tax avoidance, sex trafficking, and the like – a belief he continues to hold. “When governments look at all this stuff, why do they put up with it?” he asked again this week.

He isn’t alone in his views: many high-profile Democrat politicians including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Gary Gensler have named drug trafficking and terrorist financing among Bitcoin’s chief trading purposes.

Recent data from the on-chain intelligence platform Chainalysis indicates that illicit crypto transaction volume took up 0.34% of all volume last year. Critics like former SEC enforcement leader John Reed Stark argue that Chainalysis has flawed methodology, and that crypto-based crime is orders of magnitude greater than that in traditional finance.

Even MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor – one of the world’s largest owners of Bitcoin – claims most of the “anathema” surrounding Bitcoin surrounds its characterization as a currency, rather than property.

“It doesn’t have to be a currency,” Saylor said in an interview with CNBC on Monday. “Nobody’s trying to buy a cup of coffee with a fraction of their building on Fifth Avenue.”

Bitcoin Still A Bad Investment, Says Dimon

Since Dimon’s congressional testimony, a large share of Bitcoin trading activity has moved onto traditional rails via newly launched Bitcoin spot ETFs in the United States. The ETFs have since absorbed over $10 billion in net inflows, and the asset’s price is above its former $69,000 all-time high.

Despite this, Dimon still sees Bitcoin as little more than a “pet rock.”

“I’m not so sure the world is that safe, or a risk-free place,” he said of Bitcoin and gold’s latest gains, believing both may be caught in a speculative bubble.

“I will personally never buy Bitcoin and I do think it’s a risk if you are a buyer,” he added.

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