SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean Bitcoin investors have been left fuming after the government hinted at shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges, with some threatening to stage a guerrilla protest in Seoul.
The government’s U-turn on cryptocurrency, which could see exchanges and accounts banned in the future, has taken many by surprise, with some still processing the unexpected announcement.
One source close to the industry said, “We have just completed the process to issue private cryptocurrency accounts in line with the government’s previous self-regulatory proposal. The government’s sudden announcement is quite confusing and we are following the situation closely.”
Amid reports that the government could impose a real-name financial transaction system and shut down exchanges in an effort to regulate bitcoin speculation, a group of angry investors took to online communities.
One post was uploaded on online community DC Inside on Thursday, which read, “the government is seeking to ban all free trade of cryptocurrency without the slightest legal grounds. The tyranny of Moon must end now!”
The online post warned of a sudden protest against the government over its anti-cryptocurrency policy, urging other investors to join the demonstration which is scheduled this Saturday at Gwanghwamun.
“Is South Korea communist?” the poster asked, while calling the Moon administration ‘amateurs’.
The poster who incited protests against the government accused the current administration of shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges that are estimated at 300 trillion won, and depriving working class people who are unable to follow the typical South Korean path to wealth via real estate of an investment opportunity.
Industry officials are also expressing frustration.
“These are the strictest regulations to date. While the U.S. and Japan are drawing up policy, South Korea is going in the opposite direction and is in danger of being left behind in the global market,” a cryptocurrency industry official said.
A number of South Korean banks, including Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank, stopped opening new cryptocurrency accounts this month due to uncertainty over the government’s policy.
NH Bank has also taken a back seat and decided to stop offering new cryptocurrency accounts until further notice from the government.
Despite the ban on domestic cryptocurrency trades, reports show international P2P trades are still taking place in China.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)