Tuesday, 16 January 2018 11:22

Bid to block cryptocurrency regulation in South Korea

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The South Korean Government's attempts to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies has led to mounting support for a petition seeking to stop the efforts at curbing use of such currencies.

The petition has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures which means it would mean the government has to respond to it, perhaps through an investigation.

The Wall Street Journal  reported that on Monday, the government had issued its strongest warning to date about using bitcoin for trade, saying: “Cryptocurrency is not a legally recognised currency."

The government said it would make a final decision after "sufficient consultation and co-ordination of opinions", according to the South Korean news agency Yonhap

"The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation," the Office for Government Policy Co-ordination said in a statement.

"A government-wide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions."

The petition was launched last month by an unnamed person and credited the increase in the value of cryptocurrencies with an increase in hope among the people who could now contemplate finding relief from economic distress.

Last year, youth unemployment reach 9.9% and dissatisfaction among young people played a role in electing Moon Jae-in as president in May 2017.

In 2017, South Korea became a major bitcoin trader with 4.5% of all global transactions using the won. This made it the fourth most widely used currency for trading bitcoin, after the US dollar, the yen and the euro.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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