Whether they admit it or not, the crypto community has been on pins and needles since President Trump tweeted his dislike for bitcoin. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held a press conference at the White House dedicated entirely to cryptocurrencies today, and crypto Twitter was on the edge of its proverbial seat. Digital Currency Group CEO Barry Silbert proved to be the voice of reason from the moment that the abrupt presser was announced, no doubt calming any notion of the ‘sky is falling’ that was otherwise present on social media. After Mnuchin wrapped up his remarks on crypto, Silbert’s verdict came in:
Fundstrat’s Thomas Lee similarly seemed to interpret the Treasury Secretary’s remarks as bullish:
It’s not that Mnuchin embraced bitcoin, he didn’t. But he saved the harshest comments for those who are using bitcoin for illicit purposes, like money laundering or to fund terrorist activities. He softened his tone somewhat for people who are using bitcoin for speculation, even acknowledging legitimate financial services firms that support cryptocurrencies but also follow anti-money laundering procedures as being valid.
The bitcoin price held up during the Mnuchin scathing, too and actually tacked on more than 4 percent to $10,680. Bitcoin doesn’t always respond to external events, whether good or bad, but it clearly perceived today’s announcement as positive.
Mnuchin didn’t cheerlead bitcoin, either, pointing out that the biggest cryptocurrency is “highly volatile” in nature and “based on thin air,” the latter of which could be said for the U.S. dollar too. He is not looking for any competition for the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world. Mnuchin warned that bitcoin is a “national security issue.”
Mnuchin’s warning that bitcoin is a national security issue drew some laughs:
Of course, Crypto Twitter would not be complete without the legal analysis of the event. This is where Stephen Palley comes in, and in his view, Mnuchin’s presser was “not good for bitcoin.” Most people on Palley’s Twitter thread disagreed with the attorney, like the following response:
“Yes it is. There was absolutely nothing new said negative about bitcoin. Speculation fine, illicit use bad. If anything this further endorses the legitimacy of bitcoin itself. Not sure what you were watching.”
Whether Mnuchin meant to or not, and clearly didn’t mean to, he is the reason the bitcoin price just pumped higher and is approaching the $11,000 level once again. If he’s lucky, maybe the rally will become known as the “Mnuchin effect.”