The US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, stated that he’s “concerned consumers could get hurt” by using cryptocurrencies. To this he further declared that he would be working with the Group of 20 nations to prevent cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin from becoming the digital equivalent of an anonymous Swiss bank account.
While speaking to the Economic Club of Washington on Friday, Mnuchin said he wants to ensure “bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things.”
Mnuchin said: Under U.S. law, “if you have a wallet to own bitcoins, that company has the same obligation as a bank to know” you as a customer. “We can track those activities. The rest of the world doesn’t have that, so one of the things we will be working very closely with the G-20 is making sure that this doesn’t become the next Swiss bank account.”
Mnuchin said the US authorities, including the Federal Reserve, were studying the advantages and disadvantages of issuing digital dollars instead of hard cash, but “the Fed and we don’t think there’s any need for that at this point.”
Speaking on Russian Cryptocurrency
Mnuchin added that he is “not at all” worried that Russia may use cryptocurrencies to help its banks avoid international sanctions. An adviser to President Vladimir Putin is reported to have said that sanctions against Russia have created a need for digital currencies as their officials fear expansions in 2018.
Digital currencies such as bitcoin, which has increased in price in recent months amidst a rush by investors to buy the cryptocurrency, could help bypass any such US measures because they allow users to remain anonymous.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree last month allowing the government to classify purchases by the Defense Ministry, Federal Security Service and Foreign Intelligence Service as state secrets.
According to legal practitioner Erich Ferrari of Ferrari & Associates in Washington: “This idea that Russia or Venezuela can thwart the pressure from sanctions just by developing their own cryptocurrency is silly. It’s like trying to do it by using cash. Yes, you can do it more easily with cash, but it doesn’t mean you’re evading. It’s harder to get caught.”
Do you think that bitcoin could possibly be the next Swiss Bank Account? Tell us in the comment box