Steve Mnuchin, former Treasury Secretary of the United States, believes that the decision to invest or store one’s value in Bitcoin is a personal choice, but that the asset must be governed by regulatory oversight to prevent its use for illegal activities.
Mnuchin’s Position on Bitcoin
Speaking on Squawk Box, Mnuchin stated that he is “fine” with bitcoin being used as a “substitute for gold”:
“If people want to buy bitcoin as a substitute, no different than buying gold or some other asset, it’s fine. I don’t personally want to have it in my portfolio but if people want to that’s perfectly fine”.
Furthermore, though Mnuchin doesn’t intend to use Bitcoin as a personal investment, he believes in the “underlying technology of blockchain” as being particularly useful in Fintech and Finance.
With that said, Mnuchin also wants to see bitcoin put under “complete regulatory and BSA compliance.” The Bank Secrecy Act– or BSA– is a piece of 1970’s legislation intended to prevent the use of financial institutions for money laundering.
He followed with a reference to the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC)’s decision last year to permit banks to offer cryptocurrency custody services to customers.
“The reason we did that is because we wanted to make sure that this was becoming in the regulated world”.
Concerns About Bitcoin’s Illegal Use
He also said that his position on Bitcoin hasn’t changed much over time. In 2019, he assured that Bitcoin would be policed with “very, very strong regulations” to prevent the network from becoming like Swiss-numbered bank accounts, known for offering their clients additional secrecy.
Bitcoin’s partially anonymous, decentralized, and borderless attributes have historically been causes of concern regarding the network’s use for illegal activity. In fact, Biden’s current US Treasury Secretary has echoed similar theories, saying that she thinks cryptocurrencies are used “mainly for illicit financing.”
However, this claim and many others do not statistically hold water, and worries about Bitcoin’s illegal use tend to be grossly overstated. Blockchain intelligence has already revealed that Bitcoin transactions used for illegal activities were already as low as 0.34% in 2020.