U.S. Treasury Secretary: “We are Looking Very Carefully and Will Continue to Look at Bitcoin”
U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, gave his long-awaited first public comments about Bitcoin in a recent interview, largely about U.S. tax code and proposed cuts for taxpayers.
In an interview with Yahoo Finance Correspondent, Nicole Sinclair, Mnuchin said that the U.S. Treasury is continuing to look at Bitcoin.
“The market cap has now surpassed 100 billion dollars. People are calling it a currency. They’re using it as a currency. What are your thoughts on bitcoin? And does the government plan to regulate it?,” Nicole Sinclair asked.
“Well, it is something we are looking at very carefully,” the former Goldman Sachs banker said, “and we’ll continue to look at.”
“So the first issue” Mnuchin continued, “is to make sure people can’t use bitcoin for illicit activities. So we want to make sure that you don’t have the dark web funded in bitcoins,” he warned. “And that’s something that is a concern of ours today. So, if you’re a bitcoin dealer in the United States, you have the same know-your-customer requirements and BSA requirements,” he stated.
“And those are issues I am discussing with my international counterparts. So, our number one issue is we want to make sure that this is not used for illicit transfer of funds,” he said.
In a follow-up question, he was asked for a potential timetable for when the U.S. government may regulate Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. “No,” he responded firmly. “There’s nothing specific. But we do have working groups that are looking at this. And, again, Bitcoin is something we’ll be watching very carefully.”
President Donald Trump chose two prominent Bitcoin users for his cabinet and advisory: Mick Mulvaney, a conservative Republican congressman from South Carolina and a long-time Bitcoin supporter; and Trump’s advisor and PayPal founder Peter Thiel who supports Bitcoin. Thiel, was an investor in BitPay and a vocal Bitcoin supporter who campaigned for Trump during the election.
More so Mulvaney, together with Jared Polis, a Democratic member of Congress from Colorado, launched a bipartisan effort for a Blockchain Caucus last year stating:
“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry, the U.S. economy and the delivery of government services, and I am proud to be involved with this initiative.”
According to Mother Jones, Mulvaney’s view of the Federal Reserve is that it has “effectively devalued the dollar” and “choke[d] off economic growth.” While regarding bitcoin Mulvaney stated that the currency is “not manipulatable by any government.”
Then you have anti-Bitcoiners, or those who don’t see cryptocurrency as feasible, in his administration like Jeff Sessions who called Bitcoin and cryptocurrency “a big problem” as well as the recently chosen Federal Reserve head Jerome “Jay” Powell who has stated he has “nothing against bitcoin.”
I have “nothing against bitcoin, nothing against, you know, private currencies,” Powell said in June at The Economic Club of New York, according to a CNBC news report. They are “associated with money laundering and those sorts of issues, but we’re not broadly opposed or supportive of alternative currencies. I think from a Fed standpoint, I would say I am very cautious of the idea of a Fed digital currency.”
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