Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been thrown into the limelight over recent months by social media giant Facebook’s plans to launch its own private cryptocurrency next year, with much of the attention negative.
U.S. president Donald Trump sent shockwaves through the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community last week when he branded bitcoin “based on thin air,” with his comments coming just after the chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve said closer regulation of cryptocurrencies was needed.
Now, U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin has added his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.
“This is indeed a national security issue,” Mnuchin told reporters at a press conference yesterday. “Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cyber crime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, and human trafficking,” adding that Facebook’s Libra “could be misused by money launderers and terrorist financiers.”
Echoing Fed chair Jerome Powell, Mnuchin said…
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