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US To Impose 'Significant New Requirements' On Cryptocurrencies, Warns Mnuchin

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US To Impose 'Significant New Requirements' On Cryptocurrencies, Warns Mnuchin

The United States Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin on Wednesday told the Congress that the department is bringing in "significant new requirements" for cryptocurrencies.

What Happened

"[We] are spending a lot of time on [cryptocurrencies,] both [on an] inter agency basis and with the regulators," Mnuchin said in response to a question from New Hampshire senator Maggie Hassan. "We are about to roll out some significant new requirements."

According to the treasury secretary, while President Donald Trump's administration wants to "make sure that technology moves forward," it also wants to ensure that cryptocurrencies don't become the equivalent of "old Swiss secret number banking.

Why It Matters

July last year, the official expressed concerns about Facebook Inc.'s (NASDAQ: FB) proposed Libra cryptocurrency project, saying it had the potential of being misused.

"Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs, human trafficking," Mnuchin said at the time. "Many players have attempted to use cryptocurrencies to fund their malign behavior. This is indeed a national security issue," he added.

President Trump expressed similar sentiments at the time, saying he's not a fan of "Bitcoin," or other cryptocurrencies, whose value is based on "thin air."

Mnuchin's comments also come at a time when other officials have hinted that the Federal Reserve is looking into the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) and what it would entail.

In a separate hearing last week, Fed chairperson Jerome Powell told the Congress that while there's a "lot to weigh and a lot to work on," the central bank is thinking about issuing a CBDC.

Price Action

The leading cryptocurrency bitcoin (BTC) traded 1.11% higher at $10,415.96 at press time. Among others, ethereum (ETH) added 10.32% at $272.34; XRP (XRP) added 14.36% at 33 cents.

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