US Legitimizes Cryptocurrency for Speculative Activities; Frowns at Illicit Use of Crypto
The Secretary of the United States Treasury Steve Mnuchin in a Press Conference today at the White House gave legitimacy to cryptocurrencies. In the Press Conference, Mnuchin expressed the institution’s position on cryptocurrencies by saying that using cryptocurrency for speculations is one thing, but using it for illicit activities will invite the full effort of the US Treasury and regulators. He maintained that the United States has been at the forefront of regulating entities that provide cryptocurrencies.
He continued by saying cryptocurrencies has been exploited by many players to facilitate illegal activities such as cybercrime, tax evasion, ransom ware, illicit drugs, human trafficking etc. Attaching quantifiable numbers to the value in USD exploited using cryptocurrencies for illicit activities; Mr. Mnuchin said they are “billions of dollars”.
Legitimate firms in the United States that are attached to cryptocurrencies are subject to the Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations and that if anyone is to go through any of these legitimate firms (entities) to engage in illegal activities via the dark web, they will be caught even if they believe they cannot be caught. And the use of crypocurrencies for illicit activities, he said: “This indeed is a national security”
The Secretary when asked about the US President tweet on cryptocurrencies, he quickly pointed out that, that was the 45th’s personal opinion and not that of the United States as an entity.
It should be remembered that as the global stage is set to hear the finality of recent move by the social media giant Facebook into crypto by the unveiling Libra digital currency and the Calibra wallet. A move which met great waves of positive and negative reaction all over the world. And as US Congressional hearing on the Libra is set for July 16th 2019, mainstream media has not had a quiet time. On this the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin said that:
“Treasury has very serious concerns Libra could be used for money laundering or financing terrorism. He said this is a national security.”
He went further to say that the institution will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows. The United States has been at the forefront of regulator regulatory entities that provide cryptocurrencies. Concluding he said, the use of cryptocurrencies for illegal activities will not be tolerated.
Despite his hard line on the Facebook Libra, Secretary maintained that the US welcomes responsible innovation including new technology that may improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services. Consequently the overall goal is to maintain the integrity of the financial system and protect it from abuse.