It was not too long ago when US President Donald Trump had tweeted his disdain about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Now today one more official from the US Government has come ahead to further elaborate on those concerns. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin today held a press conference to stress the importance of FinCEN regulations, and he made some critical remarks regarding various negative aspects of cryptocurrencies. He claimed that the use of cryptocurrencies to fund illicit activities is a national security issue as billions of dollars have been used for that purpose.
Here’s what he said:
“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity, like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking … This is indeed a national security issue.”
In response to a question from one of the journalists he also said that the usage of cryptocurrencies has been dominated by illicit activities and speculation. Moreover, he also echoed President Trump’s tweets once again at the conference. He said:
“As the President has said: ‘Bitcoin is highly volatile and based on thin air’. Treasury takes very seriously the role of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency.”
He also added that all cryptocurrencies are bound by same Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Terrorism Financing policies as fiat currencies. Crypto transmitters must comply with Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and register themselves with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is a bureau under control of US Treasury. FinCEN is responsible for enforcing BSA in practice and it’s also the authority above all money transmission services operating in the United States.
Mnuchin has also established a Working Group on Digital Assets under the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The working group involves key players from SEC, CFTC, Federal Reserve and FinCEN, and its job is to draft some regulations tailored to crypto assets. In India, we too have got a similar working group in the form of Garg Committee.