South Korea’s finance minister has said that the government is not planning to ban cryptocurrency trading despite speculation that it was under consideration.
The value of bitcoin has fallen in recent weeks amid fears that authorities in South Korea were taking steps to crack down on the market.
Earlier this month, it was reported by South Korean news service SBS that the South Korean Justice Department was working on legislation that would shut down exchanges in the country. This was followed up by a separate report from Reuters that the Justice Ministry was preparing a bill. Consequently, market prices have remained in turmoil.
At the time of publishing, bitcoin’s value has dropped heavily, falling below $10,000.
Yet, according to Kim Dong-yeon, South Korea’s finance minister, talk of an outright ban is not on the agenda at present, reports Reuters.
“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency [market],” he said.
This will be welcome news to investors who feared that authorities in the country were following in China’s footsteps to ban crypto trading in the country.
His reassurances come at a time amid heightened activity within the sector. As one of the biggest’s markets for trading bitcoin and other digital currencies, this may help to settle market prices, which have struggled to gain much traction throughout January.
Dong-yeon added that the government is more interested in regulating the market. It’s thought that this is to curb increased activity within the industry and to thwart its use and attraction among criminals. Several global authorities have also called for digital currencies to be regulated, including the governor of the Bank of Canada and the U.K.’s Prime Minister Theresa May.
The topic of regulating cryptocurrencies has increased in recent weeks, and, notably, after the hack at Japanese digital currency exchange Coincheck. On Friday, it was reported that it had become the victim of hackers, resulting in the theft of over $530 million worth of XEM, the token for the NEM network, making it the biggest crypto theft in history.
In a bid to quell market price speculation South Korean banks have banned anonymous accounts from trading cryptocurrencies, which came into effect yesterday. The new rules mean that investors who wish to continue trading in digital currencies will now need their real names on bank and exchange accounts. It’s hoped that this will stop digital coins from being used in money laundering. Those who don’t comply will face penalties.
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