South Korea Responds To Cryptocurrency Petition

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A public petition that requested the South Korean government refrain from hardline virtual currency regulation has drawn a response from Hong Nam-ki, minister of the office for government policy coordination.

A February 13, 2018 report said that the petition issued to the government by South Korean citizens, which demands a stay on a cryptocurrency crackdown, has reached 280,000 signatures, prompting a response from public officials.

In the case of petitions, the South Korean government is required to respond to those that garner over 200,000 signatures within a month. At one point the public’s demand for the government to steer away from a cryptocurrency ban caused the official presidential “Blue House” website to temporarily go offline, overloaded by visitors trying to sign the petition.

In response to the public outcry, Hong Nam-ki, minister of the office for government policy co-ordination, issued a statement:

“The government’s basic rule is to prevent any illegal acts or uncertainties regarding cryptocurrency trade, while eagerly nurturing blockchain technology.”

The public petition arose following South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki’s statements on January 10, claiming the government was preparing legislation aimed at banning cryptocurrency trading through exchanges. Concerns over this may have been partially allayed by Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon, who, in the weeks to follow, said that the government had “no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency.”

Hong addressed the contrasting statements between various officials: “The government is still divided with many opinions ranging from an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading to bringing the institutions that handle the currency into the system.”

South Korea may also have plans to tax cryptocurrencies, according to Hong, which implies that commerce facilitated from trading could bolster the statetreasury. A ban might stifle the prospects of tax revenue that would result from trading activity.

Hong said that after a thorough investigation, the government will announce what plans it has, if any, to expand and regulate blockchain- and cryptocurrency-based businesses.

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