Bitcoin rebounds; Steven Mnuchin joins critics on Libra

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Bitcoin rebounded on Tuesday in Asia even after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he has serious concerns about Facebook’s Libra.

Bitcoin was up 6.6% to $10,815.7 by 11:21 PM ET (03:21 GMT). Ethereum gained 5.3% to $229.90, while XRP rose 3.8% to $0.31601. Litecoin traded 1.7% higher to $89.596.

Speaking from the White House, Mnuchin said overnight that regulation in the crypto space was “indeed a national security issue,” noting that the potential for money laundering and other illicit activities is high.

“We will not allow digital asset service providers to operate in the shadows,” Mnuchin added.

His comments came after President Donald Trump criticized Facebook’s plan to launch Libra last week, which sparked a sell-off in Bitcoin. An even earlier suggestion by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that he had “serious concerns” about Facebook’s plans for Libra and recommended they be “thoroughly and publicly addressed” also put pressure on the crypto king.

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will now face a hearing before the Senate Banking Committee followed by another Wednesday before the House Financial Services Committee.

In prepared remarks before the Senate panel, David Marcus, who oversees Facebook’s blockchain efforts, attempted to allay fears and said that the company’s Libra project would not compete with sovereign currencies or interfere with monetary policy.

“The time between now and launch is designed to be an open process and subject to regulatory oversight and review,” he wrote. “We know we need to take the time to get this right. And I want to be clear: Facebook will not offer the Libra digital currency until we have fully addressed regulatory concerns and received appropriate approvals.”

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