Published: Thu, February 01, 2018
Markets | By Josh Butler

S. Korea starts real-name trading system for cryptocurrencies

S. Korea starts real-name trading system for cryptocurrencies

In response to a question from a lawmaker on the government's plans for regulation of the cryptocurrency industry, Kim Dong-yeon said, "there is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency [market]".

Kim's comment came after Korean customs announced earlier on Wednesday that it had detected an illegal foreign exchange trading almost $600 million worth of cryptocurrencies.

As cryptocurrency markets become subject to further regulatory scrutiny, reports emerged overnight that the US-based crytocurrency exchange Bitfinex has been issued with a subpoena by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on behalf of USA law enforcement.

South Korea's official stance on cryptocurrency trading is in stark contrast to that of China.

"The regulatory oversight and the clampdown is really coming to the fore right now", Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda, said in Singapore. Later on, it was clarified by the office that outright ban happens to be one of the steps which are being considered.

Customs said about 637.5 billion won worth of foreign exchange crimes were detected.

The main offense is illegal foreign exchange trading.

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In one case, an illegal FX agency collected a total of 1.7 billion won from local residents in a form of "electric wallet" coins to transfer it to a partner agent overseas.

Only licensed banks and brokers can offer foreign exchange services in South Korea.

Effective from January 30, authorities will allow only real-name bank accounts to be used for cryptocurrency trading created to stop virtual coins from being used for money laundering and other crimes. Those who transfer more than $50,000 annually must also submit similar explanatory documents.

The statement said domestic investors bought 1.7 billion won worth of cryptocurrencies, which they sent to overseas partner companies through virtual wallets. The move is aimed at limiting the use of bitcoin exchanges for money laundering.

Bitcoin stood at US$9,800.00 as of 0502 GMT on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

The other big scare has been hacking and money laundering.

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