South Korea to ban anonymous crypto trading

South Korea to ban anonymous crypto trading
A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies at Bithumb cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea, January 11, 2018 REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo

The South Korean government has moved to ban cryptocurrency trades from using anonymous bank accounts effective by the end of the month. This new regulation is aimed at terminating digital currencies from being used for money laundering, fraud, and other crimes.

The Financial Services Commission (FCC) on Tuesday announced that cryptocurrency traders in the country will no longer be allowed to make deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets anonymously starting January 30. FCC vice chairman Kim Yong-beom said depositors' names on their bank accounts matches the account name in cryptocurrency exchanges.

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The presidential office of South Korea, however, has set the record straight saying that an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading should be considered but nothing has been finalized at the moment.

"The government is still discussing whether an outright ban is needed or not, internally," reveals a government official who requested for anonymity.

FCC says the agency will be drafting detailed guidelines and disperse them to local banks in South Korea as soon as they are done; this way banking institutions and their personnel will be able to properly identify clients involved in virtual currency transactions by their real names.

Since the last few months, South Korea strengthened its crackdown on cryptocurrencies following a series of cyber attacks where hackers used digital coins as the means for ransom. In December 2017, bitcoin exchange platform YouBit was forced to shut down due to the spate of attacks that cost them a total of 4,000 bitcoins (US$73m).

This article was first published on January 23, 2018