During an interview on November 9, 2017 with Yahoo Finance the current U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, expressed concerns over bitcoin and its potential illicit uses on the dark web.
“The first issue and the most important issue is to make sure that people can’t use bitcoin for illicit activities. So we want to make sure that you don’t have the dark web funded in bitcoins. And that’s something that is a concern of ours today.”
He further explains that their goal is for “bitcoin dealers” in the U.S. to have customer and Bank Secrecy Act requirements. Current discussions are ongoing with others internationally with the hope to stop bitcoin’s use in the exchange of illicit services. Still, the department of Treasury does not have an official stance on the cryptocurrency.
These comments are coming after the recent soaring of bitcoin past the $100 billion dollar market cap, sparking interest and concern worldwide as the cryptocurrency is beginning to be seen as a viable asset.
Mnuchin’s comment were fairly vague on what they will be doing about bitcoin, if anything, but he reiterated multiple times that there are groups looking into it and it is being watching “very carefully.” What this means for the future of cryptocurrency is unseen, but it does give a good idea of the attention that cryptos are finally beginning to grab from the higher echelons of government.
The continued rise in the bitcoin’s price has attracted the attention of the IRS as well who are currently looking into large transactions and are attempting to wrestle records from sites like Coinbase.
Bitcoin has incited a bit of fear into these agencies. As the notoriously difficult to trace transactions have the departments scrambling to find new ways to keep track of who is financing what. By mixing those fears with the current threat of global terrorism and the boogey man that is the “dark web” it is easy to see why Mnuchin is concerned by the continuing advancement of cryptocurrencies.
Still, the value of bitcoin beyond these transactions is slowly but surely being grasped by the population at large and has garnered the attention of financial experts outside of the government as well.
These financiers are divided on where bitcoin is headed, with some claiming it to be a bubble and others seeing it continuing to surge as standard currencies become less reliable in a tumultuous political scene.
Whatever the future of Bitcoin holds, there is an inherent threat to governments behind the decentralized currency unless they properly adapt to the times. While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such as ether, continue to surge more government action and comments will indeed be inevitable. The pure financial value of the asset is plainly seen now. Expect more in power to make their voice heard on the subject in the near future.