Korea’s Justice Ministry Mulls Total Ban On Bitcoin Trading

December 12, 2017 3:54 pm Published by

A plan to outlaw trading of all cryptocurrency – including bitcoin – is under consideration by the South Korean Ministry of Justice, Cryptocoinsnews reported Tuesday.

A Korean Ministry of Justice official said the Nikkei published a report with quotes from the ministry official suggesting a complete ban on all cryptocurrency trading in Korea, the report said.

Consideration of the measure, the official said, would protect retail investors from potential scams and is certain to meet strong opposition from legislators, including Korea’s finance ministry, the report said.

Citing Choi Jin-seok – a prosecutor at the Justice Ministry in charge of cryptocurrency-related crimes – said “We do not rule out an option that bans trading of [all] cryptocurrencies. We acknowledge many problems stemming from the trade and are studying how to control them.”

If enforced, the report said, the ban will take after China’s precedent in carrying out crippling measures to effectively shutter its local bitcoin industry.

Korea has already followed China’s lead in enforcing a complete ban on initial coin offering (ICO) fundraising, although regulators have since hinted at a softer regulatory approach that would reverse the ban, Cryptocoinsnews reported.

The move began with a promise to introduce regulations by the chief of Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) – the country’s primary financial regulator – last year, the report said.

As reported by Cryptocoinsnews, FSC chairman Yim Jong-yong said at the time: “The government will push for the systemization of digital currency on a full scale in tandem with a global trend in the U.S., Japan and other countries.

How would the supposed ban on cryptocurrency trading take place?

The Nikkei report cites sources within Korea’s Justice Ministry claiming “many prosecutors are leaning towards considering cryptocurrencies themselves a scam” as they aren’t backed by a monetary authority or a government. Such a classification would give the Justice Ministry the legal go-ahead to apply Korea’s criminal code and effectively ban cryptocurrency trading.

WN.com, Jack Durschlag

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