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Jamie Dimon compares bitcoin to smoking, saying he supports peoples' right to buy it, but that he never would

A group of people in a hearing
Jamie Dimon at the Hart Senate Office BuildingWin McNamee// Getty images
  • Jamie Dimon probably won't ever be sold on bitcoin.

  • He said this week he would defend the right to buy it, but wouldn't own any himself.

  • The JPMorgan head has long been a crypto skeptic, arguing that it finances illegal activities.

Bitcoin's new record highs can't break Jamie Dimon's long-held skepticism of the cryptocurrency.

In comments made at the Australian Financial Review business summit, the JPMorgan chief reiterated concerns that the digital asset empowers unlawful activity, from money laundering to drug trafficking. It also comes with risks for investment-focused buyers.

"I defend your right to smoke a cigarette, I'll defend your right to buy a bitcoin," he said on Monday, quoted by the Financial Review. "I will personally never buy bitcoin and I do think it's a risk if you are a buyer. When governments look at all this stuff, why do they put up with it?"

Defying the skeptics, bitcoin has rocketed to a new all-time high this year, gaining around 71% since January. The approval of spot bitcoin ETFs  as well as excitement for the upcoming halving cycle have been leading tailwinds.

This latest rally could demonstrate that the asset has staying power, and is more than a volatile fad, Rockefeller International's Ruchir Sharma recently wrote. Meanwhile, Wall Street's backing of the crypto via the launch of nearly a dozen ETFs point to big institutions taking the crypto more seriously.

Still, Dimon's opposition is well-established. Though he broadly considers bitcoin as a worthless "pet rock," its risks are enough of a reason for stricter regulation, he has said.

"If I was the government, I'd close it down," Dimon told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing in December.

A clampdown is unlikely. Instead, bullish analysts expect bitcoin to keep rising from here, with some estimates seeing the token reach as far as $200,000 by 2025.

But while bitcoin already stands above $70,000, its rally might stumble on a temporary pullback, crypto-enthusiast Mike Novogratz recently said, with the token possibly falling to around $50,000 before soaring again through the rest of this year.

Read the original article on Business Insider