On January 15, in a public press conference, South Korea President Moon Jae-in’s executive office Blue House spokesperson Jeong Ki-joon, emphasized that there will be no cryptocurrency trading ban in the near future.
In an official announcement, spokesperson Jeong noted that the cryptocurrency regulation task force created by the government will improve and alter the original proposal by the Justice Ministry to ban cryptocurrency trading and introduce practical regulations to foster the cryptocurrency market.
The statement of spokesperson Jeong, translated at CCN, read:
“First, the South Korean government will pursue the crackdown on anonymous cryptocurrency trading accounts and will punish market manipulation, money laundering, and fraudulent transactions through joint investigations participated by the local law enforcement and financial authorities.
Second, the cryptocurrency trading ban proposal introduced by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki was a suggestion made by the Justice Ministry on December 28 to bring speculation within the cryptocurrency market under control. The proposal will be discussed and changed by the task force participated by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, central bank, Fair Trade Commission, and other agencies.
Third, excessive speculation and fraudulent activities will be met with severe consequences. But, the government will support and even finance blockchain technology development.”
The ban on foreigners and underaged investors from trading cryptocurrencies is expected to be implemented on January 20, and by the end of this month, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are also expected to reopen registrations for new users and investors.
The statement of the South Korean government came after several high ranking officials including Nam Kyung-pil, former congressman and a member of the National Assembly, heavily criticized critics and the government for their inability to understand and properly regulate the cryptocurrency market.
"Calling bitcoin a tulip bubble is ridiculing the South Korean people. Its a baseless condemnation of the currency. Gov't should focus on fostering crypto market if it doesn't want to be left behind,” Nam said.
The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market along with major trading platforms within it such as Bithumb and Korbit are optimistic about the new approach the government is taking to regulate and foster the local market.
A spokesperson of Bithumb told Yonhap News in an interview that practical regulations are now being imposed, and exchanges in South Korea will be compliant with the new regulations and policies to ensure that the market remains transparent, fair, and stable.
Yonhap further reported that investors within the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange market has become more optimistic and started to feel more safe trading and investing in cryptocurrencies.
Bithumb, South Korea's largest #cryptocurrency exchange, optimistic. Spokesperson told Yeonhap in an interview that practical regulations are now being imposed.
Yeonhap: Investors are now confident that the government will go down the right path by regulating crypto market . pic.twitter.com/Ol96M1i5I3
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) January 15, 2018
In December, Korbit co-president Kim Jin-hwa stated during a government hearing that if the government intends to tax traders and impose strict regulations, it must first provide an even playing field for both cryptocurrency businesses and investors. Kim emphasized that the government should not create a difficult ecosystem for investors by failing to foster the market.
Although a cryptocurrency trading ban is always a possibility, given the unpredictable nature of the South Korean government, as of current, a trading ban seems highly unlikely, because of the massive backlash the government has received from its people.
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