JP Morgan Chase has begun offering crypto and bitcoin products to its retail clients.
This was revealed by Business Insider, which cites an internal memo in which the bank told its wealth advisors that they could begin accepting buy and sell orders for five crypto products for all of their wealth management clients, four from Grayscale and one from Osprey.
JP Morgan Chase is the largest US bank, and with this move, it becomes the first major US bank to give its retail clients access to crypto funds.
The bank’s wealth management business manages total assets of around $630 billion.
A person briefed on the matter said the news applies to all JP Morgan clients seeking investment advice, including clients using the bank’s trading app, affluent clients whose assets are managed by JPMorgan Advisors, and the ultra-wealthy served by the private bank.
However, JPMorgan Advisors will only be able to execute crypto trades at the explicit request of clients, while they will not be able to advise on investments in the five permitted crypto products. The enabled products are Bitcoin Trust, Bitcoin Cash Trust, Grayscale’s Ethereum Trust and Ethereum Classic, and Osprey Funds’ Bitcoin Trust.
JP Morgan and bitcoin, a change of course
This decision marks a real turnaround from those of the past, such as that of the company’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, who in 2017 even threatened to fire employees who bought bitcoin.
Moreover, the bank itself has committed itself to the future launch of a bitcoin fund, so the recent move might even seem obvious in some ways.
It should be noted that JPMorgan’s head of wealth management, Mary Callahan Erdoes, had previously stated that many of their clients saw cryptocurrencies as a new asset class and would like to invest in them. So it is very likely that the decision taken by the bank is a consequence of precise wishes expressed by its wealthiest clients.
Osprey Funds founder and CEO Greg King said:
“We are excited to be onboarded to the JPMorgan wealth platform. We are the lowest-priced publicly traded bitcoin fund in the U.S. and we believe JPMorgan’s clients will see value in the product”.
At this point, should the initiative be successful, it is highly likely that other banks will also follow JP Morgan’s lead.