South Korea issues update on its potential cryptocurrency trading ban

Andrew Cummings
January 16, 2018

The government on Monday announced that it will respect market forces and allow cryptocurrency exchanges to continue to operate - but will crack down on any illegalities.

"The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation", the Office for Government Policy Co-ordination said in a statement.

The South Korean commission added that all cryptocurrency trading should be done under individuals' real names.

The South Korean government is reportedly considering a total ban of all cryptocurrency trading - a potential move that has unsettled the global cryptocurrency markets.


"As we [the government] announced with our special measure on December 28, we will forge ahead with real-name bank accounts [at cryptocurrency exchanges] while sternly countering illegal activities such as price manipulation, money laundering and tax evasion through joint investigations between the prosecutors' office, police and the financial authorities", said Chung Ki-joon, head of the Prime Minister's Economic Policy Coordination Office, during a press briefing on Monday.

The government has announced emergency measures to tackle overheating cryptocurrency market twice previous year.

Korea's financial authorities have stepped up monitoring of cryptocurrency trading as they have warned that a bubble may be set to burst.

"A cryptocurrency is not a legal currency and therefore no one can guarantee its value", said Chung.


But on the matter of closing down local exchanges, 47.7 percent of the respondents objected, while 42.6 percent supported the measure. The US introducing a Bitcoin licensing system in 2015, and Germany acknowledged it as a means of payment. Another country fascinated by cryptocurrencies is Japan.

Elsewhere, the head of Singapore's central bank said on Monday he hoped the technologies underpinning cryptocurrencies such as blockchain would not be undermined by an eventual crash in the digital currency market.

"A government-wide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions". If the petition receives over 200,000 signatures, officials will respond to the public demand.


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