Bitcoin (BTC) may be a “scam” for former U.S. president Donald Trump, but his treasury secretary appears to have made a U-turn on the world’s first and best-known cryptocurrency.
Speaking to CNBC on July 14, Steven Mnuchin confirmed that his perspective on Bitcoin had “evolved.”
Mnuchin: Bitcoin stance has “evolved a little”
The Trump administration was known for its dismissive tone on Bitcoin in public, and those hoping for endorsement from Trump were ultimately left disappointed.
Mnuchin himself was less than inclined to offer support during his Treasury tenure, but his most recent comments reveal a clear softening of his stance.
“I think my view has evolved a little bit, but it is pretty consistent,” he told the network.
“The first part is I think underlying technology of Blockchain is really incredible and has lots of different things, particulalry in fintech and finance. I think as it relates to Bitcoin, if people want to buy Bitcoin as a subsititute — no different from buying gold or some other asset — it’s fine.”
Mnuchin added that he “would not want to have” Bitcoin is his portfolio, but stressed that he was not against others adopting it.
Continuing, he expressed a desire for Bitcoin to have “complete BSA and regulatory compliance.”
“As a matter of fact, under the OCC last year, we approved that banks could custodian it, and the reason we did that is because we wanted to make sure that this was becoming in the regulated world.”
His words garnered praise from Bitcoin circles, with Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard,” calling the changes “nice to see.”
Bitcoin still has few political allies
Mnuchin’s perspective now sounds increasingly at odds with that of Trump, who last month flatly called Bitcoin a “scam” in an episode which ultimately failed to impact market sentiment.
The picture under current president Joe Biden has meanwhile yet to offer much to Bitcoin proponents. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has voiced concerns about cryptocurrency more widely, and senior politicians are at odds over how to address it.
It is not just a U.S. predicament — El Salvador passing a Bitcoin legal tender law in June drew adverse reactions from global financial bodies including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The law, which enters into effect in September, is so far without comparison anywhere in the world. Paraguay, which presented a regulatory bill on Bitcoin this week, has not revealed plans to adopt a “Bitcoin standard.”