South Korea Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon has reaffirmed that the government will not ban or otherwise “suppress” cryptocurrency in the country, according to a statement reported by Reuters today, Jan. 31.
In the latest update to the country’s ongoing regulatory overhaul of cryptocurrency exchange, Kim firmly distanced Seoul from previous comments about a potential outright ban, which had caused public outrage earlier this month.
“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market),” he said in the statement.
Kim and Justice Minister Park Sang-ki caused an uproar earlier this month after the latter said in a press conference that a ban on cryptocurrency exchange was in the works. Mainstream media then published misleading reports that the ban was certain, which helped push a cryptocurrency sell-off.
A public petition that called to have both ministers removed from their jobs and to lessen regulation subsequently gathered over 200,000 signatures, which means the government must formally respond to it.
Regulatory steps are now a priority for lawmakers, Kim continued, as reports emerge about a customs crackdown on alleged “illegal” trading involving cryptocurrencies.
Having identified a trade worth almost $600mln, enforcement is now investigating transactions that openly flout fresh anti-anonymous trading laws, which went into effect Tuesday, Jan. 30.
“[The] Customs service has been closely looking at illegal foreign exchange trading using cryptocurrency as part of the government’s task force,” a statement announced.
The anonymous bank accounts ban is already facing its share of problems, as it emerged that the increased workload for banks that the new system demands could make smaller exchanges face anything from existing in a regulatory “blind spot” to being forced to cease trading.