Just days ago President Donald Trump called Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “not money” when he Tweeted about the subject for the first time. Now his Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin has offered a warning about the industry. Specifically, he addressed the negative impact that Facebook’s new cryptocurrency Libra could have.
During a press conference, Mnuchin said the US government would not allow cryptocurrencies to aid crime. Just as the President said previously, he’s wary of what digital assets can provide to dangerous criminals and enemies of the United States.
“Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking,” the Secretary said.
Facebook’s new project was one of his main concerns. Mnuchin fears that Libra, “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers” and that it could cause a “national security issue.”
Mnuchin said he had no idea why BTC was selling for such a high price and echoed the sentiment of the President’s recent tweet.
“The president does have concerns as it relates to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies — those are legitimate concerns that we have been working on for a long period of time,” Mnuchin said.
During the presser, Mnuchin also mentioned that the administration is not opposed to holding cryptocurrency for speculative reasons. The Treasury’s only concern is to curb illicit activities.
Right after Mnuchin dropped this line, the price started to creep back up.
“I’m not speaking on the investment merits of bitcoin, and using it for speculation. I am speaking on stopping illicit financial activity.”
Mnuchin went on to say “this is a non-political situation.”
This line of reasoning by Mnuchin led to some particularly positive responses on social media. eToro’s Mati Greenspan thinks these statements could be taken as a step towards Wall Street BTC trading.
“Bitcoin trading on Wall Street is still on the table.
Mnuchin confirms, bitcoin speculation is OK, they’re want to target the “illicit” use of crypto.”
Many builders and entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrency space would prefer a higher level of clarity when it comes to regulations. If the official stance of the government is that investing is OK, and only crime is the target, the space can flourish as new money will flow into the crypto space.