Crypto Working Group Formed By US Finance Regulators, Says Treasury Secretary

News, Regulation | January 15, 2018 By:

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has revealed that a working group focused on cryptocurrencies has been created by the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a government body that assesses risks to the US financial system.

During an event at the Economic Club of Washington, DC, Mnuchin was asked if he is worried about the rise in interest in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and whether the Treasury department is considering regulating them.

Mnuchin said the Treasury is very focused on cryptocurrencies, and that they want to make sure that bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things. He added that a working group established by the FSOC will evaluate the risks to investors and possible negative uses of the asset.

Mnuchin explained that, under US law, cryptocurrency wallet providers have the same know-your-customer (KYC) obligations as banks. “We can track those activities. The rest of the world doesn’t have that.”

He said the US government will work with G20 nations to ensure cryptocurrency accounts don’t “become the Swiss-numbered bank accounts” known for their secrecy.

“The other concern I have is that there is a lot of speculation in cryptocurrencies,” said Mnuchin. “I want to make sure that consumers who are trading this understand the risks – because I am concerned that consumers could get hurt.”

The Treasury Secretary was also asked if he is worried about Russia’s plans to develop a cryptocurrency called the ‘CryptoRuble,’ designed to evade international sanctions. “Not at all,” Mnuchin replied. “I don’t think that’s a concern.”

Mnuchin suggested that the Federal Reserve is unlikely to develop its own “digital dollar.” “I don’t think they have any intention of doing this in the near term,” he said.