[THE INVESTOR] Angry virtual currency investors in Korea have said they would stage a protest this weekend to denounce the recent government measures aimed at cooling cryptocurrency prices.
“The government has no legal basis for banning free trade in cryptocurrencies,” said a poster put up by an investor who plans to hit the streets of Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, on Dec. 30.
A trading branch of Bithumb, the nation`s largest cryptocurrency exchange, in central Seoul.
The poster also called the Moon Jae-in government a tyrant, “for attempting to unilaterally shut down a booming market worth 300 trillion won (US$282 billion).”
Korea has risen as the third-largest digital currency market after the US and Japan this year when China decided to ban initial coin offerings, which had generating much demand for cryptocurrencies.
As prices begin to surge above those in the US, the Korean government is seeking to curb what it sees to be overheating of the market.
After hinting it may ban trading altogether, Seoul appeared to have backed down a bit by saying it would not allow the opening of new virtual currency accounts. Cryptocurrency prices appeared to fall, but soon regained footing. On Dec. 28, they declined again when the government said anonymous virtual currencies would be banned, adding it may even shut down trading platforms, but recovered later in the day.
The government is eager to put a damper on the situation -- Financial Supervisory Service chief Choi Heung-sik recently said he would “bet his bottom dollar” on an eventual burst of the Bitcoin bubble -- but there is much concern about the impact.
According to a survey by job recruiting site Saramin this month, three out of every 10 salary workers have invested in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Etherium. The survey, conducted on 941 people, revealed that each person invested about 5.66 million won (US$5,285) on average.
Meanwhile, another group of investors have submitted a petition to Cheong Wa Dae on the issue. The online petition was launched on Dec. 8, and collected up to 20,000 signatures, which is the number needed for the presidential office to respond.