After some huge swings in recent weeks, the bitcoin price has steadied in the last couple of days. At the time of writing, it sits at just over $8,100 (£6,100 or so).
The big news right now is that one of the most outspoken cryptocurrency sceptics could be about to change his tune on the matter. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has hit the headlines a few times lately with his comments on bitcoins.
For a start, he called it a “fraud” back in September. After that, Dimon said that the virtual currency is “worth nothing” and even went as far as to call bitcoin investors “stupid”. In addition, he also claimed that the company’s employees could be fired for trading on bitcoin.
This makes it all the more surprising that his company is now rumoured to be considering offering bitcoin futures trading to their clients. The report on this subject came from the Wall Street Journal, in which it was suggested that that financial services company was talking about adding bitcoin futures contracts once they are added to the US derivatives exchange next month.
Does the Demand Exist?
Alexander Osipovich was the Wall Street Journal reports who brought out this news. He claimed that JPMorgan is “considering” whether to let its clients get “access to CME’s new bitcoin product”. This would be through the firm’s futures-brokerage unit and would depend upon whether they feel that enough demand for it exists.
Of course, this type of futures investment would allow people to gamble on the possible rises and falls of the currency without having to buy any coins. There is a feeling among analysts that adding bitcoin to a financial product like the CME futures contract could help to make it more a mainstream option.
The big problem would appear to be that JPMorgan could be accused of being hypocritical if they start to offer trading on a currency that their boss has called a “fraud” and has suggested that only “stupid” people invest in.
Yet, if there is an appetite for this type of investment then they run the risk of losing customers by not offering it if their rivals do. Interestingly, they already offer client trades on Bitcoin XBT, but this is a product that was available through them long before Dimon made his widely-publicised and controversial remarks about the digital currency.
The CME bitcoin futures investment is expected to be launched before 2017 ends. Indeed, their site had a notice stating the 11th of December as the start date. However, this was quickly taken down and labelled as “an error in the website”.
It is also reported that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are another couple of big financial firms that are rumoured to be thinking about ways of letting their clients invest in the future of cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, as bitcoin enjoyed some stability on the markets, the bitcoin cash currency rose by over 10% to $1,300 (£977) and also overtook bitcoin in terms of the computing power being used all over the world to mine new coins.