The past few days have been turbulent for the cryptocurrency market. The market tumbled from around $700 billion in capitalization to $473 after news that South Korean ministers want to go ahead with the cryptocurrency ban. Now even the South Korean president had to step in to clear up the situation. Moon Jae-in made a statement through his spokesperson, calming the public and reassuring that the country will not ban cryptocurrencies.
TASK FORCE TO REVIEW REGULATION
A task force will review the Justice Ministry’s proposal to shut down the crypto trading market and offer improvements. The task force will consist of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the central bank, and the Fair Trade Commission. At the same time, the president stressed that authorities will still punish illegal activities associated with cryptocurrency trading. Additionally, the government claimed that it fully supports blockchain technology development and will even finance these activities.
PETITION AGAINST BAN REACHES 215,000+ SIGNATURES
After rumors of a cryptocurrency trading ban appeared, a petition was created against these harsh measures. Titled “Has the government ever dreamed a happy dream for the people?” the petition emerged on December 28. The author describes how cryptocurrencies are creating opportunities for people who were not born wealthy and want to use it to improve their life and social standing:
“Our people have been able to make a happy dream that they have never had in Korea because of virtual currency…I might be able to buy a house in Korea where it is hard [for me] to buy my house.”
The national petition has since then exceeded 200,000 signatures, which requires a response from the government.
EXCHANGES FLOURISH DESPITE BAN RUMOR
New crypto exchanges are launching in South Korea despite uncertainty regarding regulation. High demand for this service and huge profit margins drive businesses to explore this market. Several platforms plan to open in the first months of 2018, including two run by Kosdaq-listed companies. Nex G and Hanbit Soft are currently building security and anti-money laundering (AML) systems in order to run cryptocurrency exchanges. Both exchanges are expected to launch in March. Nex G official explained:
“We are planning to operate the exchange dubbed ‘Nex Coin’ and we already established the corporation last week. We will set up all the systems provided by a normal financial institution such as anti-money laundering and security control systems.”
SOUTH KOREAN EXCHANGE MARKET
South Korea has several large exchanges and many small and medium-sized ones. The major ones include Bithumb, Upbit, Korbit and Coinone. A total of about 30 exchanges operate in the country, with around 10 more set to open in the first half of 2018.
Despite regulatory uncertainty and the plummeting prices of all cryptocurrencies, exchanges are still eager to enter the market. This is a sign of confidence that 2018 may be another great year for the crypto market.