South Korea Has No Intention to Ban Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Confirms Finance Minister

South Korea’s finance minister has confirmed the government has no plans to shut down cryptocurrency trading or exchange platforms.

After weeks of confusion and panic among Korean investors, traders and adopters of cryptocurrencies fearing a sweeping government ban akin to China, the country’s finance minister has today stressed that the government has no plans to introduce crippling curbs on the cryptocurrency market. Instead, the government’s immediate focus will delve into regulating cryptocurrency exchanges, according to the official.

In a clear statement reported by Reuters, South Korea’s finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said:

There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market).

Besides bringing respite, the comment also brings clarity to a barrage of contradicting statements from government officials from multiple ministries who have backed or opposed the ban on cryptocurrency exchanges, originally proposed by Korea’s Justice Ministry. The societal backlash against the proposed ban even saw the Executive Office of the President weigh in on the matter, cooling fears of a blanket ban. Korea has notably followed China’s example in introducing bans for the cryptocurrency sector, specifically initial coin offerings (ICOs).

On the same day of proposing it, Korea’s justice ministry was forced to soften its stance on the ban proposal, which was unlikely to succeed from the beginning. The justice ministry found little support from other governmental ministries including the ministry of finance which refused to endorse a ban on cryptocurrency trading and exchanges.

In a public radio interview this month, the chairman of Korea’s economic competition regulator disputed the very notion of a ban, effectively stating it would be illegal for the government to enforce such measures.

Korea’s Fair Trade Commission chairman Kim Sang-Joo stated:

“[Shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges] is not realistically possible. Based on electronic commerce law, the government does not have the authority to close down cryptocurrency trading platforms.”

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