Jamie Dimon vs. ARK on bitcoin: Is it history’s first global monetary system, or the fiscal version of the ‘pet rock’?
- March 1, 2024: Vol. 11, Number 3

Jamie Dimon vs. ARK on bitcoin: Is it history’s first global monetary system, or the fiscal version of the ‘pet rock’?

by Mike Consol

Jamie Dimon recently likened bitcoin to a “pet rock.” The people at ARK Investment Management took umbrage, suggesting the chief executive of J.P. Morgan Chase doesn’t understand the asset.

Dimon further predicted that when bitcoin hits its maximum 21 million coins, bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamato is going to “laugh hysterically, go quiet, and all bitcoin is going to be erased.”

ARK, which recently launched a bitcoin ETF, offered a considerably different take. It predicted bitcoin is poised for broad institutional acceptance. In a recent commentary, ARK pointed out Dimon overlooks fundamental components of bitcoin’s design by suggesting that bitcoin’s supply could disappear when it reaches 21 million, its maximum mathematically metered supply. Integral to bitcoin’s design are its decentralized consensus mechanism, difficulty adjustment algorithm, and hard-coded supply limit.

More specifically, ARK, headed by Cathie Wood, argues these three components ensure decentralized control, network integrity and scarcity.

Decentralized consensus mechanism: Bitcoin operates on a decentralized network in which changes require consensus among multiple network participants, including nodes, miners and developers. They reach consensus only when the majority of the network’s computational power base agrees on the blockchain’s state. Jamie Dimon does not seem to understand the complexity of achieving consensus in a decentralized system over which no single entity has control.

Difficulty adjustment algorithm: Bitcoin’s protocol includes an automatic difficulty adjustment mechanism that ensures the steady creation of new bitcoin. The adjustment happens every two weeks on average and guarantees the rate of block discovery is consistent with the network’s total hashing power. Dimon’s stance seems not to consider this self-regulating feature is crucial to bitcoin’s stability and the predictable supply growth of bitcoin.

Hard-coded supply limit: The 21 million cap on bitcoin’s supply is hardcoded into its protocol and is foundational to the system. Changing that limit would require a nearly impossible consensus among the decentralized user network. Dimon’s suggestion that the cap could be altered or that bitcoin could be erased after reaching this limit ignores the fundamental tenet of bitcoin’s design.

Now that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved spot bitcoin ETFs, bitcoin is likely to proliferate in the financial world. ARK reasons that bitcoin is the financial system native to the internet, that it is the first global, private, decentralized, digital, rules-based monetary system in history.

In another public communique on the subject, ARK wrote that since its founding in 2014, it has researched bitcoin and the public blockchain space and have made it the firm’s mission to bring investors exposure to the asset class in every regulated way possible.

ARK says in 2015 it became the first retail fund manager to offer investors exposure to bitcoin through its investment in GBTC, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust. In March 2020, it launched a cryptocurrency fund for accredited investors and qualified purchasers. In October 2022, it launched two managed accounts offering investors actively managed exposure to cryptocurrency and crypto assets through its financial adviser on the Eaglebrook Digital Asset Management Platform. In November 2023, it launched the firm’s first suite of digital asset ETFs with 21Shares, offering investors access to bitcoin and ethereum through respective futures contracts-based ETFs.

Now, ARK writes, the firm has been able to make investing in bitcoin as easy as buying a stock through its ARK 21Shares Bitcoin ETF.

After less than two weeks of trading, ARK bitcoin ETF raked in more than $500 million in investor commitments, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unsurpingly, during that time period the bitcoin ETFs launched by retail investing giants BlackRock and Fidelity raised $1.9 billion and $1.6 billion of inflows, respectively.

As for the Jamie Dimon versus ARK Investment Management debate regarding the value and staying power of bitcoin, the jury will be out and deliberating for many years to come.


Mike Consol ( is senior editor of Real Assets Adviser. Follow him on X (@mikeconsol) and LinkedIn ( to read his latest postings.

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