Crypto Trading Ban Downplayed by South Korea After Backlash

(Bloomberg) — South Korea’s government gave the strongest signal yet that it will allow cryptocurrency exchanges to keep operating in the country, a welcome development for traders who had feared an outright ban in one of the world’s biggest markets for digital assets.

Policy makers will focus on making cryptocurrency trading transparent rather than outlawing it altogether, Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, said in a video a posted on the presidential website. It was the government’s first coordinated response to the public uproar over a justice ministry proposal in December to shut digital-asset exchanges.

Talk of a ban in Korea had rattled traders around the world, fueling concern that the country might cut off a key source of demand for and its peers. Regulators globally are grappling with how to respond to the cryptocurrency boom, with responses ranging from an exchange ban in China to a licensing system in Japan. Korea appears to be leaning toward a more permissive approach than was once feared.

Why the Cryptocurrency World Is Watching South Korea: QuickTake

Hong clarified the government’s position after more than 200,000 Koreans backed a petition on the Blue House website of President Moon Jae-in denouncing the justice ministry’s proposal. Korea’s system is similar to that of the U.S., where petitions that gather enough signatures elicit an answer from the White House…

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