JPMorgan joins BofA in quiet warning: Crypto could disrupt banks

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(Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. just weighed in again on virtual currencies -- very discreetly.

It’s not a prediction. And it doesn’t speak to Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon’s own declarations on Bitcoin -- which he once called a “fraud,” and then later reconsidered, saying the underlying technology is “real.”

This time, the comment is tucked into the bank’s 301-page annual regulatory filing in a wide-ranging list of hypothetical risks to its business. The gist: Cryptocurrencies are among innovations that could someday disrupt parts of the financial system. Speaking generally, JPMorgan added, a variety of new technologies could force the company “to spend more to modify or adapt its products to attract and retain clients and customers.”

Bank of America Corp. made a similar observation in a filing late last week. The warnings add to signs that traditional financial companies are taking Bitcoin’s innovations more seriously.

On Monday, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. mentioned crypto too, albeit with a twist: Many firms are drawing on Bitcoin’s underlying ledger, blockchain, to develop new financial products, Goldman said, but the technology “is also nascent and may be vulnerable to cyber attacks or have other inherent weaknesses.”

Bloomberg News