As we get ready to say goodbye to the 2010s, CNBC.com is taking a look back at the key players, events and transformations from Wall Street to Silicon Valley to corporate America to the White House that shaped a “Decade of Disruption.” In the lead-up to New Year’s Day 2020, CNBC’s online journalists will be exploring the moments that defined the past 10 years for your money and set the table for the next decade and beyond.
This decade marked the mainstream emergence of bitcoin. Proponents bid up the world’s biggest cryptocurrency to dizzying heights and endured periodic crashes on the belief that it will one day replace gold as a store of value and actual money for purchases. Critics believe that bitcoin will do neither and call it a dangerous, modern day bubble like Holland’s tulip bulb mania in the 1630s.
Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of Wall Street banking powerhouse J.P. Morgan Chase, can be counted in the latter camp. In September 2017, about three months before bitcoin hit an all-time high of nearly $20,000 per unit and crashed shortly thereafter, Dimon dropped a bomb on the crypto world. He called bitcoin a “fraud.”
Appearing at the CNBC-Institutional Investor Delivering Alpha conference, Dimon said at the time: “It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed.” He also contended, “It’s just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed.”
Centuries ago, tulips had became such a prized commodity that in 1636 they were being traded on many Dutch stock exchanges and many people traded or sold possessions to get in on the action, according to Investopedia. The bubble came to an end in 1637, which resulted in the bulbs trading at a fraction of their previous price, leaving many people in financial ruin.
Dimon’s comments about bitcoin touched off an explosive global debate among backers and haters. The J.P. Morgan CEO…