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Korea’s Justice Ministry Softens Crypto Exchange Ban Proposal after Backlash

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The South Korean Justice Ministry has backpedaled somewhat on its proposal to brazenly shut down all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges following a public statement by the country’s Presidential Office.

Earlier today, South Korea’s Ministry of Justice organized a press conference wherein Justice Minister Park Seng-ki spoke of drawing up legislation to shutter local crypto exchanges in the country. The move would effectively halt trading of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in the Korean market which resembled “gambling and speculation,” Park said in his briefing.

The official’s remarks have seen a backlash from everyday citizens petitioning – some 71,000 signatures and counting – against the proposed ban to such an extent that Korea’s Presidential office, through its chief press secretary, moved to issue a statement stressing that the proposed ban was “not a finalized decision.”

The Justice’s Ministry’s proposed ban hasn’t found support from within the government either. “We do not share the same views as the Ministry of Justice on a potential cryptocurrency exchange ban,” read an official statement from the government’s Ministry of Strategy and Finance.

Following the Presidential office’s public message, the Justice Ministry has since softened its stance on its ban proposal, to an extent. Stressing that it intends to complete the draft the cryptocurrency trading closure bill, the Justice Ministry said:

“The ministry has been preparing a special law to shut down all cryptocurrency exchanges, but we will push for it after careful consideration with related government agencies.”

As reported in December, any proposal to a blanket ban was certain to meet opposition within governmental ranks and it remains to be seen what curbs are to be enforced on Korea’s local cryptocurrency ecosystem, if any.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s primary financial regulator – the Financial Services Commission (FSC), is also unlikely to support any blanket ban on cryptocurrency trading. The regulator has long insisted on introducing regulations for the industry that will see licenses granted to bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges. “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,” said FSC chairman Yim Jong-yong in late 2016 when setting out to introduce embracive regulations.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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