US Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker addresses a press roundtable at the US embassy in Bern, Switzerland September 10, this year. -Reuters
The Facebook-led Libra cryptocurrency project must meet the highest standards for combating money laundering and terrorism financing if it is to get off the ground, a senior US Treasury official said on Tuesday.
Any cryptocurrency project, including Geneva-based Libra, operating in all or substantial parts of the United States will clearly have to satisfy US regulatory standards, US Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker told reporters in the Swiss capital.
"Whether it's bitcoin, Ethereum, Libra, our message is the same to all of these companies: anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism has to be built into your design from the get-go," Mandelker said.
She was speaking after meeting Swiss government officials and representatives from the Bank for International Settlements and other international financial bodies to discuss cryptocurrencies including the planned Libra project, which is to be launched by a Swiss-based association.
While the digital currency industry has paid tremendous attention to developing the underlying technology, much of the industry has paid far too little attention to ensuring that the networks they are building do not enable terrorists and other bad actors to hide and move money, Mandelker said.
The Treasury official said she would meet Switzerland's financial market supervisor FINMA on Tuesday, where discussing not only the application of proper anti-money laundering safeguards but also taking enforcement actions against companies flouting those rules would be a priority.
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