US Treasury Secretary Says Cash Is Not Laundered As Much As Bitcoin Is
Earlier in the week, Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of Treasury, held an emergency meeting on Bitcoin, saying they are used for “cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking,” and revealed that the government would soon be cracking down on exchanges offering the digital asset class.
Continuing his crusade against Bitcoin, the politician and financial regulator says that he and his branch will be enforcing regulations “very, very strong” across the space.
“We are going to make sure that bitcoin doesn’t become the equivalent to Swiss numbered bank accounts which were obviously a real risk to the financial system,” he concluded.
As Mnuchin clearly said that Bitcoin’s vulnerability to money laundering is the main reason for the Treasury to regulate it tightly, CNBC’s host Joe Kernen questioned his point in an interview on “Squawk Box” on July 18.
Kernen argued that Bitcoin and other existing currencies’ capabilities to be used for nefarious activities cannot be a reason for banning them, noting that “cash is laundered all the time.” Mnuchin did not back off from his position, replying that such a statement is not accurate.
The Secretary elaborated that the U.S. has the strongest anti-money laundering (AML) system in the world, adding that the government combats “bad actors in the U.S. dollar every day to protect the U.S. financial system.”
Following the interview, Kernen expressed sarcasm about Mnuchin’s idea that cash has not been laundered all the time, but the authorities are combating illicit activities in its system. He tweeted:
“‘the existing system has never been used for illicit activities but we’re going to make sure crypto is isn’t used for illicit activities like the current system.’ Got it.”
On July 15, Mnuchin expressed concern over Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency and its potential illicit use, noting that he is not comfortable with Libra cryptocurrency, which can be used for tax evasion, extortion, illicit drugs and human trafficking, among others.