U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his executive agency was in line with other financial ministries of the Group of Seven (G7) regarding Facebook’s leap into cryptocurrencies.
“There was a clear agreement from all G7 finance ministers and central bank governors that Libra, in particular, raises some very significant concerns, and cryptocurrencies more broadly,” Mnuchin said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “Before any of us let these go through, we’re going to make sure those concerns are satisfied.”
For his part, the secretary would “very, very strong[ly]” impress upon the crypto industry the same regulations “physical money service providers” abide by. He cited specifically the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), to that end.
“At the treasury we’ve been doing work on this for over the last year,” he said. “We put together a working group.”
While Mnuchin “wants to be careful that anyone that is using bitcoin … is using it for proper purposes and not illicit purposes,” he also said distributed ledger technology has “clear uses.”
“On this front, first of all, let me be clear, we very much support financial innovation and anything that lowers payment processing costs, especially cross-border.”
The issue for Mnuchin, he said, is the opportunity for cryptocurrencies to be used for money laundering and terrorist financing.
“We’re going to make sure bitcoin doesn’t become the equivalent to Swiss numbered bank accounts,” Mnuchin said.
"There are billions of dollars of transactions going on in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes," says Treasury Secretary Mnuchin pic.twitter.com/kQpxNQIFbA
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) July 18, 2019
Steven Mnuchin image via Shutterstock