More than 100,000 South Koreans have signed a petition calling on the government to abandon any plans to introduce a ban on cryptocurrencies in the country.
Earlier this week, the South Korean Ministry of justice announced that it is preparing a bill according to which the activities of cryptocurrency exchanges will be illegal. In addition to the upcoming bill cryptocurrency exchanges already under pressure from governmental bodies: fiscal and police.
The mass dissatisfaction with this position of the Minister of justice has compelled other government officials, in particular Minister for Finance and strategic development, as well as the presidential authority to declare that the initiative of the Ministry of justice is not a government position.
Public reaction to the possible ban, however, continues to gain momentum. On the website of the Blue House of the President of Korea from 10 January, there were more than 4,000 petitions related to “virtual currencies”.
One request to send Minister of justice to resign has garnered over 30,000 signatures. According to Reuters, one of the petitions about the cryptocurrency has gained more than 100,000 signatures, and the website became unavailable at some point due to excessive traffic.
The position of the opposition
As reported by Korean daily newspaper the Hankyoreh, the leaders of several opposition parties have criticised this unilateral initiative of the government.
Government action must be coordinated and based on a thorough analysis.
Although one of the deputies from the opposition said that the ban is not a government position, but rather by the initiative of the Minister of justice and possibly the President.
The path to regulation
In recent months, the government’s efforts to restrict what it considers speculation associated with cryptocurrencies.
These efforts include the introduction of new rules for banks that work with cryptocurrency. 8 Jan regulators checked six banks for compliance with the new rules, including the rules for customer identification.
However, according to Korea Times, instead of bring their activities into compliance with the new rules, some banks said they simply just cease cooperation with cryptocurrency companies.
The largest Bank in South Korea, Shinhan Bank, said Friday that it will close accounts in virtual currencies, because of the need to comply with new regulations concerning their use. The Bank representatives said that all the banking system comply with the new regulation:
We have developed a system to implement the identification of the clients-owners of [foreign exchange] accounts in line with new government rules. However, we decided to abandon provision of these services completely, after it became a serious social problem.