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Jamie Dimon equates Bitcoin to Pet Rock; Howard Marks compares it with gold

Jamie Dimon equates Bitcoin to Pet Rock; Howard Marks compares it with gold
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Jamie Dimon, chair and CEO of JPMorgan Chase, says he is finished speaking about Bitcoin. Credit: Shutterstock

Bitcoin: Pet Rock or gold?

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon referred to Bitcoin as a “Pet Rock” while speaking in Davos, Switzerland, at a World Economic Forum event earlier this week, Fortune reported.

For those who don’t remember, Pet Rocks were a brief fad in the ‘70s when many people were moved to fork over four dollars for a ventilated cardboard box containing a rock.

Meanwhile, Oaktree Capital Management founder Howard Marks speaking on Bloomberg’s Merryn Talks Money podcast, compared Bitcoin with gold in that there is a limited supply of both, and they are worth only what others are willing to pay for them. “Gold is a little more tried and true, but it also lacks any kind of analytical raison d’etre,” Marks noted, unlike real estate, companies, stocks or bonds, all of which offer returns of some sort.

Still, while Dimon remains a Bitcoin sceptic and said he will speak no more on the subject going forward, he acknowledged seeing utility and promise in smart contracts enabled by blockchain technologies on Ethereum.

Dimon said: “There’s a cryptocurrency which might actually do something. You can use it to buy and sell real estate and move data, tokenising things that you do something with.”

BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF is first to $1bn AUM

BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF, called iShares Bitcoin Trust or IBIT, reached $1 billion in assets under management in about a week of trading, the first among 11 newly launched ETFs to do so, Reuters reported, citing JPMorgan data.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission approved the ETFs tracking the biggest cryptocurrency last week, and BlackRock’s IBIT had accumulated $1.07 billion in assets under management by January 17.

Robert Mitchnick, BlackRock’s head of digital assets, told Fortune that the considerable inflows to IBIT demonstrated strong investor demand.

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“This is just the beginning,” he said. “We have a long-term commitment focused on providing investors access to an iShares quality ETF.”

Hong Kong planning spot crypto EFTs

Hong Kong is planning a more flexible approach than the US towards spot crypto ETFs, the South China Morning Post reported.

Hong Kong’s proposed regulations for spot crypto ETFs would allow both cash and in-kind subscriptions. In Hong Kong, dealers will be allowed to use Bitcoin to subscribe to or redeem the ETF’s shares, while in the US, cash must be used, the report said.

Crypto market movers

  • Bitcoin is down 0.23% today at $41,530.80.
  • Ethereum is down 0.82% today at $2,469.63.

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