U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a press conference that the Treasury Department has very serious concerns that Facebook’s digital currency, the Balance, could be misused by money launderers, terrorist financiers and other bad players.
The US government considers cryptocurrencies, including the Libra supported by Facebook, as a matter of national security, and although the concerns are not entirely surprising, they make the US government’s position on cryptocurrency more clear.
According to Mnuchin, crypto-currencies have seen billions of dollars of abuse to support illegal activities, including cybercrime; tax evasion; extortion; ransom; trafficking in human beings, and more.
Mnuchin said the United States welcomes responsible innovation, including new technologies that can improve the efficiency of the financial system and expand access to financial services.
The U.S. Treasury Department has stated that its main objective concerning Facebook currency and other cryptocurrency developments is to maintain the integrity of the U.S. financial system and protect it from abuse.
The Minister noted that Facebook and any other provider of digital currency should provide the same guarantees as traditional financial institutions, including those applied by the Anti-Money Laundering Commission, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Bank Secrecy Act.
The press conference comes a few days after President Donald Trump said in a tweet that he was not a fan of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
A Facebook spokesman said in response to the Treasury Secretary’s comments: « We anticipated the critical comments from regulators, central banks and legislators around the world, and we announced Balance a year earlier than expected so that we could hold these talks.
Some legislators have called on the company to stop the development of the libra, while others want to prevent all major technology companies from providing cryptocurrencies.
Official Facebook David Marcus is scheduled to testify at a Senate hearing tomorrow, where he said: « We will not release Libera until all regulatory issues are addressed.