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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In the latest sign of Wall Street players warming to bitcoin, the largest U.S. bank wants to issue a debt instrument linked to cryptocurrency-focused companies.

Driving the news: JPMorgan’s proposed “Cryptocurrency Exposure Basket” will be heavy on MicroStrategy, Square and Riot Blockchain stocks, according to a new SEC filing.

Between the lines: The basket gives JPM clients access to the industry's upside without all the fuss of holding cryptocurrencies and digital tokens themselves.

  • Until the SEC approves a bitcoin ETF, stocks of publicly traded companies deep in the bitcoin business may be the next best thing for investors.
  • Leading the pack in the JPM basket is MicroStrategy. The Virginia-based business intelligence firm is famous for snatching up 90,859 BTC ($4.9 billion at today’s prices) since last summer as a hedge against inflation given its dollar-heavy balance sheet.
  • The company's stock will make up 20% of the proposed basket, with Jack Dorsey’s Square coming in second at 18%. The latter recently re-upped its bitcoin holdings, adding $170 million in late February to an earlier $50 million buy. Its 8,027 BTC are now worth $433 million.

The bottom line: While BNY Mellon and Goldman Sachs are getting their hands dirty with cryptocurrency assets themselves, JPMorgan is taking a more circumspect approach (and staying true to CEO Jamie Dimon's infamous dislike of bitcoin).

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

U.S. and NATO answer Putin in writing while bracing for Ukraine invasion

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. Photo: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty

The U.S. and NATO provided Russia with written proposals on Wednesday to advance a "diplomatic path forward," even as they warned that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

Why it matters: This is a delicate diplomatic balancing act. The U.S. and NATO want to show they're serious about diplomacy but unwilling to compromise on "core principles" — all without providing Vladimir Putin with an additional pretext for escalation.

The political leanings of the Supreme Court justices

Data: Martin-Quinn scores; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Supreme Court will continue to have a solid conservative majority even with Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement.

How to read the chart: An analysis by political scientists Andrew Martin and Kevin Quinn, known as the Martin-Quinn Score, places judges on an ideological spectrum. A lower score indicates a more liberal justice, whereas a higher score indicates a more conservative justice.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.