S. Korea to Decide on Crypto Trading Only After Government Talks

(Bloomberg) -- South Korea’s government will decide whether to pursue a bill to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges only after “sufficient discussions and opinion coordination” across departments, the Office for Government Policy Coordination said.

The nation will in the meantime begin a planned real-name system for cryptocurrency accounts and take firm measures on illegal trading, the Office said in an emailed statement on Monday. It also said that South Korea will provide support to research and development relating to blockchain technology.

The announcement came after comments by the country’s Justice Ministry last week that it was preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading via exchanges. That was later downplayed by a spokesman for President Moon Jae-in, who said the proposal is one among several and that nothing has been finalized.

Korean authorities have sought measures to curb cryptocurrency speculation as the nation emerged as something of a ground zero for the speculative mania, playing host to several of the world’s most active exchanges. Bitcoin prices in the country are persistently higher than those in the U.S. It was trading at about a 37 percent premium on Monday in Seoul.

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