[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s financial authorities on Jan. 3 denied reports of mulling a ban on additional investments by existing cryptocurrency investors.
In a statement, the Financial Services Commission and its policy deployment arm -- the Financial Supervisory Service -- said it was not considering such measures.
Earlier, the local media had reported that the government wants to place a blanket ban on all additional movements in the cryptocurrency markets until a real-name system is launched later this month.
The reports said part of the reason was that officials considered it unfair for investors who already have accounts and cryptocurrency to continue making new investments until the system is put in place.
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On Dec. 28, 2017, the government announced another round of measures following initial moves earlier in the month to curb trading of cryptocurrencies, including the possible closure of exchanges if necessary, amid growing fears that the latest price hikes are a bubble waiting to burst.
The core of the measures is the real-name transactions system in which only those with bank accounts registered under the same name of their cryptocurrency accounts can make deposits and withdrawals.
“If these measures fail to tame speculation, we are also considering an investment limit per person,” said the unnamed official.
Investors have responded angrily. “If they block everything, we’re turning to foreign digital currency exchanges,” read a post on an online local cryptocurrency community. Another post read, “The government is looking at the tree and not the forest. They should be able to read the changing global trends.”
The latest string of anti-speculative measures, however, have had little impact on the price of popular digital currencies.
Bitcoin prices in Korea rose over 20 million won (US$18,800) this morning, up 8 percent from a day earlier, according to Bithumb, the largest digital currency exchange in Korea. Ethereum fell 2 percent to 1.1 million won.
By Park Ga-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)