US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his department will use “very, very strong” regulations to ensure that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies don’t become “the equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts.”
“We’re going to make sure that bitcoin doesn’t become the equivalent of Swiss-numbered bank accounts, which were obviously a risk to the financial system,” Mnuchin said in an interview on Thursday (July 18) with CNBC.
It’s imperative that cryptocurrencies don’t become cloaked in secrecy, he said, referring to the history of certain Swiss banks giving customers a cloak of privacy to avoid taxation.
“I want to be careful that anybody who’s using bitcoin – regardless of what the price is – is using it for proper purposes and not illicit purposes,” Mnuchin added.
He told the news outlet that “billions of dollars of transactions” in cryptocurrencies are taking place for illegal purposes, just as cash “is laundered all the time.”
“We combat bad actors in the U.S. dollar every day to protect the U.S. financial system,” he added.
In a July 5 press conference on cryptocurrencies, Mnuchin said Libra could become a national security issue and that “he’s not comfortable” with Facebook’s planned launch.
Libra Head David Marcus told U.S. lawmakers in a prepared testimony that there will be no launch until regulatory concerns are discussed. He said crypto is not intended to compete with principal currencies and won’t interfere with monetary policy.
Just days before the Facebook Libra hearings, a draft bill to limit “Big Tech’s” entry into finance and crypto surfaced online. Lawmakers’ doubts about Libra is having a negative impact on bitcoin. The digital currency had lost almost a third of its value after trading above $13,000 a week ago, which was close to its high for the year.