Bitcoin is looking stronger than ever and will soon be celebrating its 13th birthday on 9 January 2022. Yet, for such a young asset, it sure has suffered its fair share of death.
Crypto skeptics have been calling Bitcoin’s end pretty much for as long as it’s existed and yet it continues to climb and outperform almost any other asset on Earth. While some critics like Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Taleb are too deep in their conviction to ever admit error, forward-thinking bankers and business owners are slowly realizing Bitcoin’s potential.
Here we look at some of the big-name companies that have changed their minds about Bitcoin over the years:
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is probably one of the most infamous and vocal Bitcoin critics, calling the asset a scam on multiple occasions. In fact, at one point in 2017, he even threatened to fire any of his employees stupid enough to invest in the coin.
While Dimon insists that his personal views on the crypto market haven’t changed, his bank certainly seems to be excited about digital assets. JPMorgan created its own US dollar-backed digital stablecoin, JPM Coin, in 2020, and has since introduced a blockchain unit and provided its clients access to crypto investment options. As far as we are aware, no employees were fired in the making of these products.
After publishing an article in early 2020 stating that “Cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are not an asset class,” major investment bank Goldman Sachs has since changed its tune. A new study released earlier this year by the company notes how “the intrinsic characteristics of certain cryptocurrencies allow them to attract a specific user base.” In particular, the Goldman Sachs report mentions Bitcoin’s high market cap, Ethereum’s smart contracts, XRP’s real-time settlement, and Polkadot’s cross-chain capabilities.
Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs began offering some of its clients access to Bitcoin derivative products that allow them to invest and profit from crypto markets. Now, one of its biggest competitors, Citibank, looks to be exploring a similar product.
The Mises Institute is a famous Austrian economics think tank founded in 1982 and named after famous economist and historian Ludwig von Mises. The institute, based in Alabama, USA, is a nonprofit organization with a strong libertarian political stance. Way back in 2013 it released an article entitled ‘The Bitcoin Money Myth’, which outlined the emergence of electronic money and the “pipe dream” that it will replace fiat paper money.
However, the Mises Institute has performed a spectacular backflip on its stance since, becoming one of Bitcoin’s biggest proponents and releasing several articles supporting the crypto industry. Some of its most recent publications include: “3 Common Criticisms of Crypto — and Why They’re Wrong”, “Can the Lightning Network Lead to “Hyperbitcoinization”?, and several articles debunking Bitcoin’s environmental threat.
Tesla is probably the most recent high-profile company to flip-flop on Bitcoin, albeit in the opposite direction. In February 2021, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent Bitcoin’s price into skyrocket after announcing his company would start accepting BTC as payment. Tesla further solidified its commitment by investing $1.5 billion into Bitcoin.
However, not long after the announcement, Musk reversed the decision, citing environmental concerns regarding Bitcoin’s energy usage. Although Tesla didn’t say they would selling any Bitcoin, the comments sent Bitcoin’s price plummeting. That is, until late July 2021, when Musk said Tesla may start accepting BTC again — presumably after learning that much of its energy actually comes from renewable sources.
As one of the earliest disruptive fintech companies, PayPal has always been more open-minded about Bitcoin than traditional banks. However, even the world’s leading online payments platform was skeptical at first. After several years of mulling over its position regarding Bitcoin, PayPal eventually partnered with some crypto processors in 2014.
While these partnerships proved beneficial for both parties, PayPal didn’t fully embrace Bitcoin until very recently. Despite several smaller fintech startups like Revolut and Cashapp adding crypto services earlier, PayPal only began allowing the purchase and sale of Bitcoin to US customers in late 2020. It has since launched the offering to its UK userbase, with plans for further global expansion in the coming months.