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Minister: ‘South Korea Crypto Ban Won’t Happen’

A South Korean government minister has said that the country has no plans to ban cryptocurrency, in response to a question about the government’s ultimate plans for cryptocurrency regulation.

After several weeks of sustained enforcement action by regulators, and a ratcheting up of rhetoric from the Korean financial regulator, the statement confirms that South Korea intends to retain legal cryptocurrency trading.

When asked a question from an opposition lawmaker, finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said the government would not look to ban cryptocurrency exchanges outright: “There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market).”

This is in stark contrast to the position adopted by other regional powers, most notably China, which has opted for a much more aggressive approach in banning cryptocurrency exchanges. Rather than shutting down exchanges, the minister remarked that it was “regulating exchanges (that are the) immediate task.”

The news will come as a relief to investors engaged in cryptocurrency markets in South Korea, following a series of newly announced regulations and enforcement measures.

Most recently, new regulations require all trading accounts to be linked to real-name bank accounts, effectively ending the practice of trading cryptocurrency anonymously. This has come alongside fresh demands on cryptocurrency exchanges to step up their know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering measures.

In the wake of these steps, some had considered the South Korean authorities to be heading toward a more drastic approach. As one of the world’s biggest markets for cryptocurrencies, the series of developments have been held responsible for some of the recent downward price pressures on crypto markets.

With the minister providing clarification of the government’s objectives today, investors will no longer be in the dark as to their intentions.

While banning cryptocurrencies altogether had been mooted, the government has rolled back since early January, culminating in the admission from the minister today. After remarks from the country’s justice minister earlier in the month, the president’s office was keen to settle the markets, and to issue a clarification of its position.

“Justice Minister Park’s comments related to the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but it’s not a measure that has been finalized.”

Today’s remarks come as the final assurances investors need to be confident an outright ban won’t come to pass any time soon.

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