What just happened? Despite the widely-held belief that cryptocurrency is dead, the market continues to expand. New types of digital coins (some better than others) pop up regularly, and while nobody can predict the future, it doesn't look like many of them will be going anywhere anytime soon. Indeed, even one of the United States' largest banks, JP Morgan, has just decided to jump on the crypto bandwagon.
According to a recent CNBC report, the financial giant is launching "JPM Coin," a bank-backed cryptocurrency that will primarily be used to "instantly settle" transactions between clients in its wholesale payments business.
This news might come as a surprise to those who are familiar with JP Morgan's previous views on Bitcoin. The bank's CEO, Jamie Dimon, has previously called Bitcoin a "fraud" - it seems Dimon now thinks he and his team can do better.
Of course, it's also worth noting that JPM Coin will likely only be used for very specific purposes (such as the scenario laid out above) - there are no initial coin offerings planned for it, and the average crypto enthusiast will probably never own even a fraction of one of the coins.
Regardless, this could be seen as a win for the crypto community at large. Even if JPM Coin is never actively traded, it's still the first time a major US bank has openly embraced cryptocurrencies.
Naturally, there's potential for the opposite sentiment to emerge as well. Some hardcore crypto holders feel that "stablecoins" like what JP Morgan is hoping to launch are essentially scams in and of themselves; or at least less exciting than market dominators like Bitcoin.
Time will tell whether or not other financial institutions will follow JP Morgan's lead.