SOUTH KOREA has announced that it will ban anonymous cryptocurrency trading from 30 January.
We knew this was coming, with government officials in South Korea confirming earlier this month that they were planning a crypto crackdown due to concerns that exchanges are being used for money laundering and tax evasion.
The new rules mean that traders in South Korea will be required to identify themselves with their real names to make deposits into virtual coin wallets, and have those details matched with information at local banks, Kim Yong-beom, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) told a news conference in Seoul.
From 30 January, South Korea will also ban foreigners without local bank accounts and children under 19 from buying Bitcoin.
One local Bitcoin investor told Reuters: "Everyone knew this was coming, as the government already said they will enforce the real-name system before. Rather, I can see this as a chance to go in, not out. I don't see any reason to take my money out."
Separately, the FSC also established an anti-money laundering guideline for cryptocurrency exchanges, Coindesk reports, which outlines situations where exchanges should stay alert to potential illegal activity.
"Specifically, for users to make virtual currency transactions more than 10 million won per day or more than 20 million won for 7 days when depositing and withdrawing funds, this is the type of financial transaction you suspect for money laundering."
The move likely isn't as drastic as many had expected, as earlier speculation had claimed that the country was planning an outright ban of cryptocurrency trading.
However, on Tuesday, South Korea's presidential office said an outright ban on trading is only one option being considered to tackle crime.
"The government is still discussing whether an outright ban is needed or not, internally," an official told Reuters.
According to Bithumb, the country's second-largest virtual currency exchange, the Bitcoin price in South Korea was down 4.35 per cent at $12,567 on Tuesday. South Korea is believed to be the world's third-biggest market for trades in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, behind Japan and the US.
Bitcoin is currently trading at $10,500 (£7,525), according to CoinDesk. µ
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