Bitcoin, the magic internet money you either love, hate, or have absolutely no understanding of, reached another record high today, topping $8,000 per coin. Oh man, what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and buy some bitcoins right now. Ahem, anyway…
The astounding success of Bitcoin this year, rising from less than $1,000 at the beginning of the year to eight times as much today, continues to baffle and enrage the world’s entrenched banking establishment. Many of the largest banks and their kingpin CEOs are well beyond denial, having entered the anger stage of grief about 2-3 months ago. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan and one of the most outspoken critics of bitcoin, was clearly miffed when he said back in September, “I couldn’t care less what bitcoin trades for, how it trades, why it trades, who trades it; if you’re stupid enough to buy it you’ll pay the price for it one day.” Ouch.
Feeling increasingly threatened and helpless to thwart the advance of the decentralized digital currency, other top bankers have reached the bargaining stage. While Morgan Stanley Chairman and CEO James Gorman has largely echoed Dimon’s sentiment, saying on Wednesday that “anyone who thinks its [bitcoin] is a stable investment is deluding themselves,” he also admitted that it’s “not a fad; it’s not going away over night.”
Meanwhile, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, appeared to be on the fence a couple months, saying that he’s “still thinking about bitcoin.” More recently he has stated that he considers the current uptick in price to be “a kind of a bubble,” but admitted that bitcoin may ultimately have some value: “the list of things that are conventional today that I use every day that I thought would never make it is a very long list,” he told CNBC.
I suspect that many banks and their leaders will only get grumpier before finally accepting that bitcoin is here to stay. But accepting change, especially when you’re the establishment that’s under threat, is never easy. Though I’ll bet even Dimon is shrewd enough to squirrel away a few dozen bitcoins, you know, just in case.