South Korea could ban cryptocurrency

12 Jan 18

The Ministry of Justice in South Korea wants to ban cryptocurrencies amid concerns about tax evasion and crime. 

 

Financial news outlets including Reuters have reported bitcoin prices plummeted after the country justice minister Park Sang-ki said yesterday he was preparing a bill to ban trading cryptocurrencies on South Korean exchanges. 

It said Park told a news conference: “There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.”

The possible ban comes as the nation’s police and tax authorities have raided local cryptocurrency exchanges for alleged tax evasion.

South Korean financial authorities have previously said they are inspecting six local banks that offer virtual currency accounts to institutions, amid concerns the increasing use of such assets could lead to a surge in crime, Reuters reported.

Although, the news agency added that after the market slumped South Korea’s presidential office said such a ban had not yet been finalised. 

Once the bill has been drafted, legislation for a ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, which could take months or years.

Virtual currency news site CCN subsequently said that South Korea’s finance ministry has distanced itself from the justice ministry’s statement, quoting an official saying: “We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential crypto currency exchange ban.”

A petition on the presidential Blue House website already has more than 120,000 signatures opposing the move, Reuters have reported. It is understood heavy internet traffic to the petition briefly crashed the site. 

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