The South Korean government will not impose a ban on cryptocurrency trading after all, contrary to the claims of Park Sang-ki, the head of the Justice Ministry. The proposed legislation will need a majority vote of all 297 members of the National Assembly in order to ban trading outright.
In the afternoon of January 11, the South Korean government made an official announcement to the public through the Blue House that it will not impose a cryptocurrency trading ban in the short-term, and that the premature statement of Justice Minister Park does not reflect the stance of the South Korean government.
But prices on the country's crypto exchanges are speculative.
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"Justice Minister Park's comments related to shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but it's not a measure that has been finalized", a spokesman told reporters in a text message. The local exchange Bithumb had Bitcoin priced at $17,169.65 per token while CoinDesk was 31% lower.
South Korea is a major trading hub for cryptocurrency, and with most of the supply of Bitcoin coming from miners in Asia, the ban may have greater ramifications than if it was carried out elsewhere.
The government had already said in December that it would apply more scrutiny to the exchanges, including moves to curb anonymous trading. An official at South Korean exchange Coinone said that in addition to the raids, "local police also have been investigating our company since past year". This leads to market crash in recent times.
An unidentified spokesman told the Financial Times: "They asked for some data such as cryptocurrency trading volume, our exchange's sales and whether we are paying corporate tax well". "If we ban virtual currency exchanges altogether as the Financial Services Commission recommends, we are likely to end up in a situation where nobody takes the responsibility." said Jin-hwa via Khan. Goldman Sachs, who loves growth and momentum investing, raised concerns over the future of Bitcoin. The world's biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Hong Kong-based Binance.com, said it was adding "a couple of million" registered users every week, with 240,000 people signing up in just an hour on Wednesday.