The 11th of January saw massive market volatility, scratching of heads and overall confusion in the crypto community as South Korea’s Justice Minister, Park Sang-ki, confidently stated that crypto trading in the country would be banned.
During a press conference, Sang-ki said:
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.”
However, it seems like Sang-ki went on a rogue mission during his announcement as he did so without discussing it with other ministries involved in the country’s crypto regulation task force, including the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
To clear up the confusion, the Blue House, which is the South Korean president’s executive office and residence, categorically stated that their short-term goals do not include a ban on crypto trading in the country.
Even though the South Korean government is still in the process of finalizing the finer details, proposed regulations remain unchanged. Previous reports stated that the country would disable anonymous accounts on their crypto exchanges in a bid to foster more transparency in the industry.
However, some self-imposed damage was done after Sang-ki’s announcement as a 60,000-strong petition was circulated calling for the dismissal of the minister.
In addition, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, has distanced itself from statements made by Sang-ki, stating that the ministry does not agree or support it. Also, the ministry reiterated the fact that the whole regulation task force did not agree to the ban, and that the ministry only find out about the press conference via media reports.
In South Korea, the voice of the people is strong, previously having the power to impeach the country’s previous president. Based on this, the current president, Moon Jae-in, has promised to always give consideration to what the people of South Korea has to say.
A representative for the country’s crypto task force has said that it is unlikely that virtual currency trading will be banned, even in the future:
“The South Korean government has no other choice but to follow the regulatory frameworks and trends established by other leading governments. While there certainly exists a negative reputation attached to the cryptocurrencies, the government’s stance is to allow what has to be allowed, for the benefit of the South Korean market.”
Crypto interest and adoption has grown exponentially in the country, but this latest round of FUD did heavily impact the market, and most cryptocurrencies saw a notable drop in trading prices.