The former United States Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin has shared a somewhat softened stance about Bitcoin, admitting for the first time that investors who wish to invest in the asset class are free to do so as long as the underlying industry remains regulated.
It is worth recalling that in 2019, the then-Treasury Secretary held a press briefing in which he noted that the U.S government was “concerned about the speculative nature of bitcoin and will make sure that the U.S. financial system is protected from fraud.”
Although the press briefing had specifically been linked to Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency, Mnuchin backed then-President Donald Trump’s comment that “Bitcoin is highly volatile and based on thin air.” He also spoke extensively about how cryptocurrencies were being used for illicit activities.
In a Wednesday interview with CNBC, though, Steve Mnuchin admitted that his view [about Bitcoin] has “evolved a little bit in the wake of mainstream adoption.” After alluding to the blockchain as being the “incredible” facet of the invention, He said,
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.
However, Mnuchin placed more emphasis on the importance of having Bitcoin and cryptocurrency investing done in a fully regulated environment.
“I do think it’s very important that this [Bitcoin] is an asset that has complete BSA [Bank Secrecy Act], and regulatory compliance.” He recalled that last year under the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC), regulators had approved that banks could custody Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for customers.
Steve Mnuchin’s softened stance about Bitcoin comes further reflects how public opinion about the cryptocurrency has changed over time. At the time of his 2019 remark, Bitcoin was trading around $9,000.