Three weeks ago, South Korea banned cryptocurrency trading through anonymous bank accounts and have created a very strict KYC policy across all South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. Investors feared the worst, as Korean officials considered shutting down local cryptocurrency exchanges completely.
Since a new real-name trading policy started for cryptocurrency transactions as of January 30th that was aimed preventing money laundering and other crimes, South Korean regulators appear to be changing their tune. Choe Heung-sik, Financial Supervisor Service Governor held a recent meeting with representatives from cryptocurrency exchanges, and went on record to say that the South Korean government “will support [cryptocurrency trading] if normal transactions are made.”
Choe also added that South Korea will “encourage” banks to make transactions with cryptocurrency exchanges.
The comments are in stark contrast to previous statements from the South Korean Justice Ministry, which first proposed the ban on cryptocurrency trading. Moving forward, South Korea will reportedly consider its own approval system that grants licenses to cryptocurrency exchanges that adhere to rules and guidelines set by regulators.
South Korea is seen as one of the countries most invested in cryptocurrency, often paying high premiums on cryptocurrencies over and above the price other exchanges are selling at. Due to this, price tracking site CoinMarketCap removed South Korean prices from its listings, causing crypto values to plummet, only to then reinstate South Korean price tracking later in the month.
In potentially related news, a South Korean cryptocurrency regulator, Jung Ki-joon, was found dead in his home at the age of 52. Jung helped coordinate the first efforts aimed at creating new legislation around cryptocurrency.