South Korean crypto enthusiasts will no longer be able to use anonymous bank accounts for coin trading starting on January 30th. The move was designed by regulators to make bitcoin a less useful tool for money laundering and other financial crimes.
Bitcoin mania is particularly acutely noticeable in the South Korean market, as dabbling in crypto has become something of a popular pastime nationwide, despite frequent warning from regulators about investing in an unsecured, unregulated commodity like bitcoin.
The news pushed down the price of bitcoin in-nation — a drop of 3.34 percent to $12,699 as of the writing of this story. The general price of bitcoin is a little over $10,000 this AM — Japanese and South Korean exchanges tend to run a bit hotter than average.
South Korean regulators and leaders have been casting a more skeptical eye on cyrpto trading in recent weeks — and as of last week, the nation's top financial cop noted that the government may even consider shutting down local digital exchanges.
South Korea’s Presidential office has clarified that an outright ban on trading on the virtual currency exchanges is only one of the steps being considered, and not a measure that has been finalized.
“The government is still discussing whether an outright ban is needed or not, internally,” a government official who declined to be named said after Tuesday’s briefing.
As of the end of this month, traders will be unable to deposit funds into their exchange wallets unless the name on their bank account matches the name on the cryptos exchange wallet, according to Kim Yong-beom, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission, at a news conference in Seoul.
“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,” said a local bitcoin investor who only agreed to be identified by his family name, Ahn.