Inside money, markets, and big tech

Trump and his ex-banker treasury secretary are really scared of Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrency)

I wonder why

Bitcoin conspiracy theories (1)

US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin is apparently super concerned about the impact Facebook‘s Libra “cryptocurrency” will have on national security, reports Bloomberg.

In a White House briefing, Mnuchin mirrored president Trump‘s recently-found tough stance on digital assets by claiming that its potential to facilitate crime is high.

“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin BTC have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking,” Mnuchin told reporters.

“Many players have attempted to use cryptocurrencies to fund their maligned behavior. This is indeed a national security issue,” he added.

Facebook, which is scheduled to front the US senate today, has already said that it won’t launch Libra until the concerns of financial regulators and central banks are fully met.

In his official testimony, Facebook‘s head of Calibra David Marcus also clarified its Libra token isn’t intended to rival to the US dollar, but rather serve as a tool to make international payments more efficient.

A Facebook spokesperson previously confirmed Libra won’t launch in India due to vehement government scrutiny.

Early Friday, Trump tweeted a barrage of anti-Bitcoin sentiment. It consisted mostly of outdated rhetoric  that Bitcoin et al are super bad because they facilitate illegal activity, yadda yadda.

Almost entirely indifferent to Mnuchin’s ramblings, the price of Bitcoin has risen roughly 4 percent in the past day – a small recovery since dropping over 12 percent in the past week.

Published July 16, 2019 — 10:24 UTC