December 28, 2017 (The FR) — Rumors circulating South Korean news outlets that Seoul was “considering” a ban on cryptoasset trading corresponded with bitcoin prices tumbling from around $15,800 to around $14,600 Thursday.
“The confusion came after local publications quoted a government official saying they are ‘considering’ a ban in the country as a way to cool down the digital currency craze,” Forbes reports.
But as it turns out, the South Korean government has no plans to regulate bitcoin. The apparent dip was spurred by a bout of fake – or at least incomplete – news, particularly of the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) strain.
The South Korean government announced that it was going to require real names for cryptoasset transactions. Further, Seoul will implement a ban on anonymous virtual accounts. Both practices largely consistent with know-your-customer (KYC) protocols.
According to the Yonhap News Agency, the government “can’t let this abnormal situation of speculation go on any longer,” said Hong Nam-ki, Minister of the Office of Government Policy Coordination. But the government doesn’t appear to have its sights set on ending trading per se, but rather stepping up basic transparency requirements.
“Under the measure, only real-name bank accounts and matching accounts at virtual currency exchanges can be used for deposits and withdrawals, while the issuance of new virtual accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges will be banned,” Yonhap notes. It’s unclear what the ban on “new virtual accounts” means in its entirety seeing as exchanges, not governments, set up wallet accounts.
Bithumb, the largest South Korean crypto exchange, stated that accounts for members under the age of 19 have been banned from creating new accounts and that following the new year minors will be prohibited from trading altogether. Note that this is much different than an outright ban on cryptoasset trading, as has been widely reported in US media outlets.
“In order to implement the government’s cryptocurrency regulation, Bithumb will suspend new minor subscriptions on January 1, 2018 and will also ban minor subscribers from the service,” Bithumb said Thursday.
Bithumb changed only one provision in its terms of service, Article 5-5, which now states: “If you are under 19 years-of-age, you may be are restricted from using services related to cryptocurrency trading provided by BTC Korea.”
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