Bitcoin BTC +0.6%, ethereum and cryptocurrencies have suffered an almighty crash this year, resulting in U.S. president Joe Biden leading calls for "critical" new crypto rules.
The bitcoin price, down around 70% since hitting an all-time high about a year ago, has crashed under $17,000 per bitcoin despite Elon Musk issuing a surprise crypto price prediction. The ethereum price and other major cryptocurrencies have seen similar declines, erasing around $2.2 trillion from the combined crypto market cap that had ballooned to $3 trillion late last year—exacerbated by a shock exchange collapse.
Now, Wall Street giant JPMorgan, after making a big bet on crypto earlier this month, has registered a trademark for a digital wallet and related cryptocurrency processing services—described as a "historical move."
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JPMorgan, whose chief executive has famously trashed bitcoin, ethereum and other cryptocurrencies, has officially registered and patented a digital allet that could be used for holding bitcoin and crypto as well as transfers and payments, according to a document filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
The patent, orginally filed in July 2020, was spotted by trademark attorney Michael Kondoudis who posted to Twitter that the patent approval meant JPMorgan would now be able to provide "virtual currency transfer and exchange" and "crypto payment processing."
However, the trademark does not exclusively apply to crypto and can also be applied to traditional, digital financial services.
"Whilst the stability of the crypto ecosystem remains in question, JPMorgan continues to make moves toward integrating crypto products," Marcus Sotiriou, an analyst at digital asset broker GlobalBlock, wrote in an emailed comment that described the move as "historical."
Earlier this month, before JPMorgan analysts issued a devastating bitcoin price prediction, the bank completed its first-ever cross-border transaction using blockchain-based decentralized finance (DeFi) in what's been called "a massive step" for the crypto space.
JPMorgan's ongoing interest in bitcoin, ethereum and cryptocurrencies stands in stark contrast to the opinion of chief executive Jamie Dimon, who's repeatedly branded bitcoin and crypto "a fraud" and "a Ponzi scheme" in recent years.
In 2020, JPMorgan launched its JPM Coin U.S. dollar-pegged stablecoin, designed to speed up and reduce the costs of cross-border payments, alongside its blockchain platform Onyx.