JPMorgan Hires Former Celcius Exec Aaron Iovine as Head of Digital Assets Regulatory Policy

Aaron Iovine joins JPMorgan as executive director for digital assets regulatory policy.
Image source: JPMorgan

Quick take:

  • JPMorgan’s executive director for digital assets regulatory policy is a newly created role.
  • Iovine previously spent eight months as head of policy and regulatory at bankrupt crypto lender Celcius Network.
  • He was also head of policy and regulatory affairs at digital asset-friendly regional lender Cross River.

JPMorgan has hired former Celcius policy head Aaron Iovine to fill the role of executive director for digital assets regulatory policy, Bloomberg Law first reported. The new hire comes less than a month after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dixon denounced cryptocurrencies as “decentralized Ponzi schemes.”

A JPMorgan spokeswoman confirmed with Bloomberg that Aaron Iovine joined the company this week in the newly created role. Prior to that, he was the head of policy and regulatory from February to September at bankrupt crypto lender Celcius Network, which is currently under federal investigations.

Iovine left Celcius two months after the platform filed for bankruptcy in New York. Before joining Celcius, Iovine was leading policy and regulatory affairs at digital asset-friendly regional lender Cross River for almost three years. 

He began his law career as a legal and regulatory intern in 2015 at The Clearing House, a banking association and payments company. After an internship at a trade association for broker-dealers SIFMA, he joined New York-based law firm White & Case LLP as a senior regulatory analyst in 2018.

With the new hire, JPMorgan is looking to expand into the digital asset space despite increased regulatory scrutiny and the market downturn. In addition, JPMorgan has also posted a LinkedIn job ad seeking a digital assets counsel.

In his new role, Iovine will lead JPMorgan’s regulatory affairs team which includes former Davis Polk & Wardwell senior associate Sharon Yang, who assumes the role of managing director and global head of regulatory affairs. She was previously a deputy assistant secretary for international financial markets at the U.S. Treasury Department.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dixon called himself a “major skeptic on crypto tokens” during congressional testimony on Sep 21, when he made the “Ponzi schemes” comment. The company’s global head of payments, Takis Georgakopoulos, told Bloomberg Television last month that he sees “very little” demand for cryptocurrencies as a payment tool. 

However, the banking giant is still making a presence in Web3 with a virtual lounge in Decentraland. Named after the bank’s blockchain-based division, Onyx Lounge features a tiger and an image of Jamie Dixon.

Alongside the unveiling of its virtual lounge, JP Morgan has also published a paper on business opportunities in the metaverse, which the bank called a $1 trillion opportunity. In the paper, the bank outlined plans to play a major role in the metaverse by offering crossborder payments, foreign exchange, financial assets creation, trading and safekeeping and at-scale customer foothold.

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