Find the best broker for your trading or investing needs Individuals and criminals planning to use bitcoin for money laundering better watch out for U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.  During an interview at the Economic Club of Washington, Mnuchin said that he was working with representatives from G-20 countries to make sure that “bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things.” In practical terms, this means preventing the cryptocurrency from becoming a mechanism to store or transfer funds illegally. In his interview, Mnuchin likened bitcoin to a “Swiss bank account.” While U.S. laws require banks to know their customers, regulation in other countries is more fluid.

Switzerland, long famous for its tight-lipped bankers, is the most prominent such example.  According to Mnuchin, bitcoin trading firms have an obligation to track bitcoin transactions. “We can track those activities.

The rest of the world doesn’t have that, so one of the things we will be working very closely with the G-20 is making sure that this doesn’t become the Swiss bank account,” he said.  Since its launch 10 years ago, bitcoin has been used by some criminals for purposes as varied as money laundering to running drug cartels on the dark web. (See also: Bitcoin Price Drops After ‘WannaCry’ Ransom Taint.)  The cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise has also invited government scrutiny and comparisons to the dot com mania at the turn of this century.

Governments around the world have responded by banning initial coin offerings and considering strict regulation to bring cryptocurrencies within the ambit of the global financial system.    This is not the first time that Mnuchin has expressed concern about uses for bitcoin.

In November 2017, he said he wanted to make sure that bitcoins were not used for illicit purposes and that the U.S. government had formed working groups to monitor cryptocurrencies. Individual states already have regulations concerning bitcoin, but a federal directive is missing for cryptocurrencies. Read more from…

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