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Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat down with CNBC on Wednesday and shared his viewpoint on Bitcoin.
Mnuchin said that while he personally does not want to hold Bitcoin in his portfolio yet, his opinion on the cryptocurrency has “evolved a bit”.
Speaking about Bitcoin, cybersecurity, and the U.S. economy, the former treasury secretary said that if people want to buy the cryptocurrency, “that’s perfectly fine”. During the time when he was still in office, Mnuchin was more dismissive of crypto and had stated that there was no inherent value to it.
Since that time, an ever-increasing number of major institutions and prominent traders have gotten into bitcoin. Major investment banks, such as Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citigroup, have either started offering or are in the process of offering crypto services to their clients.
When asked about his viewpoint on Bitcoin and whether this had changed, Mnuchin said:
“I think my view has evolved a little bit, but it is pretty consistent … If people want to buy bitcoin as a substitute, no different than buying gold or some other asset, it’s fine. I don’t personally want to have it in my portfolio but if people want to that’s perfectly fine.”
Noting that many applications are making use of blockchain technology, the former government official then said:
“The underlying technology of blockchain is pretty incredible.”
Mnuchin further emphasized the importance of Bitcoin and other crypto assets and services to be regulatory-compliant, including complying with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). He noted that under the Trump administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) approved banks to offer cryptocurrency custodian services last year. According to him, they did so because “we wanted to make sure that this was becoming in the regulated world … and it should be fully BSA compliant.”
Recently, the US House of Representatives has passed new legislation that could provide some clarity on the rules surrounding cryptocurrencies. The Eliminate Barriers to Innovation Act, introduced by North Carolina Republican Patrick McHenry, is intended to “direct the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to jointly establish a digital asset working group.”
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Author: Peter Siu