Čvc 08

South Korea Moving Towards Cryptocurrency Acceptance

South Korea is continuing to legitimize and embrace cryptocurrency through a careful and considered approach.


‘The regulator isn’t opposed to cryptocurrencies’

On May 19, Bitcoinist reported that Korean regulators had agreed to apply the G20’s set of “unified regulations” in regards to cryptocurrencies. South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) stated at that time:

It’s almost certain that cryptocurrencies will be classified as assets and the main issue will be centered on how to regulate them properly under the unified frame that will be agreed upon between G-20 nations. Given the current stance, this isn’t good, but we will step up efforts to improve things.

Now, The Korea Times has reported that the country’s regulators are indeed set to ease regulations regarding cryptocurrencies — as the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has revised its guidelines for cryptocurrency exchange operators.

One official told the oldest English-language newspaper in South Korea:

The FSC made revisions to its rules to apply strengthened policies in order to prevent or detect money laundering and illegal activities because the regulator isn’t opposed to cryptocurrencies.

Another official stated:

Establishing unified rules is a complicated issue given the broader range of assessments between government agencies. This is why the country needs close international cooperation as it is still in the early stages of fine-tuning guidelines.

How Icon (ICX) and Others Skirt South Korean Restrictions

The government’s stance and actions thus far indicate an interest in encouraging blockchain technology and the growth of cryptocurrencies, but not at the expense of safety and security. Stated one trade ministry official:

Any major reversal in policies is unlikely, but the government seems to believe a gradual shift in attitude toward crypto-based assets is needed. What regulators should do is figure out how to regulate them properly and prudently as Korea needs to put more emphasis on blockchain technology after obtaining knowhow and understanding of the possible flipside of cryptocurrency trading.

‘Interest in cryptocurrencies will double’

The report comes shortly after South Korea moved to recognize cryptocurrency exchanges as legal entities in their own right for the first time, cementing their position in the local economy.

Seoul-based technology journalist Kim Byeong-yong also told The Korea Times that mainstream adoption is likely coming to South Korea in the future, explaining:

Global banks predict that interest in cryptocurrencies will double. We believe an increase in adoption will come when crypto-assets can be used as actual currencies rather than just speculative investments.

What do you think about South Korea’s regulatory stance regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology? Do you think mainstream adoption is in the cards? Let us know in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

Share
Čvn 09

South Korea Claims $28M Tax From Bithumb But Finds No ‘Illegal Activity’

· June 8, 2018 · 8:00 pm

South Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) has requested $30 billion won ($28 million) in taxes from major cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb in a move which has gained positive feedback from the community.


Bithumb ‘Will Not Object’ To Tax Bill

Local media reported on June 8 that Bithumb, which posted revenues of 427 billion won ($397 million) in 2017, will pay the bill following an audit from South Korea’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

As a result of the audit, which occurred in April, the IRS also confirmed that investigators had not found “any illegal activities such as tax evasion.”

An NTS official said:

The IRS has conducted a tax investigation against Bithumb for the 2014 to 2017 business years. […] We understand that Bithumb has decided to pay the related taxes without any objection to the imposed tax amount.

Cryptocurrency commentators received the news warmly on social media, noting that Bithumb getting the all-clear from regulators marked a positive step forward for South Korea’s exchange industry.

South Korea Stabilizes Crypto

Earlier this year, the government moved to clamp down on exchange operators, banning multiple accounts and forcing users to link their exchange account with their bank account. Foreign accounts were also halted, along with provisional warnings from authorities that exchanges would soon need to respond to tax obligations from the previous 2017-18 tax year.

The boon for Bithumb, meanwhile, comes as Seoul continues to consider reversing its previous ban on ICOs. A National Assembly committee dedicated to studying the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ recommended during a meeting on May 29 that it plans to “establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission of ICOs.”

Also among its recommendations was making “improvements” to the “transparency” of the local cryptocurrency industry, along with “establishing a healthy trade order,” local news outlet Business Korea reported.

What do you think about Bithumb’s tax bill? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of BigStockPhoto

Show comments

Share
Bře 11

Older South Koreans Are Investing in Cryptocurrencies the Most

· March 11, 2018 · 1:00 pm

While most people associate cryptocurrency investment with the younger half of the generational spectrum, reports have shown that seniors in South Korea are going significantly harder in the digital paint than younger investors.


Respect your elders

According to a survey of 2,530 adults by the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation conducted last December, older investors are getting involved in cryptocurrency much more aggressively than younger investors — though the latter is more active when it comes to buying and selling.

People in their 60s invested larger amounts than any other age demographic, totaling 6.59 million Korean Won — or $6,194 USD. “The older the investor, the larger the investment,” Kwon Soon-chae, told Korea Joongang Daily.

However, senior analyst at the Korea Financial Investors Protection Foundation is worried that older investors don’t really understand what they’re getting themselves into. Said Soon-chae:

There’s a need for older investors to not lose their retirement savings on cryptocurrency investments.

South Korea Bans Bitcoin Futures As Authorities Consider Crypto Income Tax

The survey also revealed that roughly 23 percent of South Koreans in their 20s have experience in buying cryptocurrency, while people in their 30s aren’t far behind at 19 percent. The likelihood of a South Korean in his or her 40s investing in cryptocurrency, meanwhile, was 12 percent, while someone in their 50s was only 8 percent.

In regards to investment size, South Koreans in their 20s averaged 2.93 million Korean Won, versus people in their 30s and 40s who both invested less than 4 million won. Those in their 50s weren’t far behind those in their 60s, at 6.29 million won.

As noted by Korea Joongang Daily, 42 percent of participants in their 60s were investing more than 3 million won, while 21 percent invested more than 10 million won. Of those in their 50s, less than 10 percent invested a larger sum than 10 million won, as compared to participants in their 20s and 30s, of which 40 percent put less than 1 million won.

The hype is over

Perhaps most importantly, the survey indicates that the hype surrounding cryptocurrency — particularly during the unprecedented bull run which took place late last year — has cooled off.

According to the survey, respondents that continued to invest in cryptocurrency made up only 6.4 percent of the total pool, while 31.3 percent never even dipped their toes in digital currency’s waters.

A particularly concerning statistic for cryptocurrency enthusiasts is the fact that one 7 percent claimed they would continue to invest in digital currencies, while 23.1 percent admitted feelings of reluctance. Meanwhile, 70 percent claimed they had no plans to invest in cryptocurrency.

Respondents’ largest concern was the threat of hacks, while volatility came in as the second most popular reason for refraining from cryptocurrency investments.

Are you at all surprised to learn that older Koreans are more aggressive cryptocurrency investors? Do you think the downtrend to start 2018 is scaring investors away? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Úno 20

South Korea to ‘Support’ And ‘Encourage’ Crypto Transactions – Regulator Chief

· February 20, 2018 · 9:30 am

South Korea will “encourage” banks to interact with cryptocurrency exchanges, regulators have said in a surprising development in the country’s narrative.


Choe: We Want ‘Normal’ Transactions

As local news media outlet Yonhap News Agency reports Tuesday, Choe Heung-sik, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, has announced government organs will “support” all legitimate transactions in the cryptocurrency trading space.

The comments were delivered during a meeting which included representatives from South Korea’s exchange industry.

The emphasis appeared to be on legal versus illegal transactions, with the promise of support “if normal transactions are made.”

South Korea Issues Ban on ICOsChoe’s hinting at a more open-minded stance from Seoul going forward forms part of a recent departure from lawmakers’ harsher words which caused public outrage in recent months.

Since December, talk of an outright ban on cryptocurrency exchanges had metamorphosed into a ban on anonymous trading. This was then joined by plans to create a Japan-style exchange licensing system, constituting an about turn in the space’s legal prospects.

Turbulence As Police Investigate Official Death

Despite the rapidly-changing landscape, however, Yonhap notes the general atmosphere of confusion and hesitation on the part of exchanges themselves to embrace the current market.

“Currently, local banks have been reportedly reluctant to open virtual accounts for cryptocurrency trading amid the government’s crackdown,” it adds commenting on the teething problems witnessed following the anonymous trading ban when it became law January 30.

On Monday, the government released data showing South Korea’s exchanges generated taxable revenues amounting to almost $650 million in 2017. Taxation, hastily enacted last month and worth 24.2% of that figure, is due for payment by the end of April.

At the same time, a more solemn development this week saw Jung Ki-joon, the official working on future cryptocurrency treatment plans suddenly die of a heart attack. Police investigating the event have since announced a more in-depth review will be carried out.

What do you think about Choe Heung-sik’s plans for cryptocurrency treatment? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Úno 02

Diversify They Said: Bitcoin’s Drop Sparks Double Pain For Altcoin Holders

· February 2, 2018 · 8:30 am

Bitcoin has proven its worth in a fresh market downturn as altcoin assets across the board dramatically overtake its losses.


Bitcoin Steadiest Top-50 Asset

A glance at Coinmarketcap’s top fifty cryptocurrency asset prices Friday reveals even Ether (ETH) to have lost around 7% more than Bitcoin’s 15.5% daily minuses.

Ripple shed 31%, Bitcoin Cash 20% and Cardano 37%, putting it just behind Ardor’s 39% as the top fifty’s biggest loser as of press time.

The only asset to buck the trend in the top one hundred assets is Digix DAO, which in an unlikely opportunistic growth spurt appreciated 90% in the last 24 hours.

As mainstream media once again raced to celebrate the popping of the Bitcoin ‘bubble,’ cryptocurrency industry insiders showed no signs of panic.

In what has become a common sequence of events for 2018, fresh downward corrections are being met by tips to “buy low” concerning Bitcoin, its lesser fall making it the ideal holding currency for purchasing even lower altcoins.

Meanwhile, investment platform BankToTheFuture creator Simon Dixon led forecasts of where Bitcoin’s price bottom would eventually appear, considering $7300 as the site of a future upward correction.

Korea Ditches ‘Kimchi Premium’ Arbitrage

Downward selling pressure had been mounting through last week for Bitcoin. Regulatory overhauls in South Korea, reiteration of government stance in India and the misrepresentation of both in the mainstream press led to an  infiltration of ‘fake news’ which appeared to frighten markets.

The flurry of media speculation produced fertile ground for naysayers, with popular monitoring site 99bitcoins now containing almost 250 Bitcoin ‘obituaries.’

At the same time, conditions in jurisdictions which contributed to negative sentiment are showing signs of marked improvement.

South Korea, which had previously been famous for mismatched crypto prices and associated arbitrage opportunities, has reinvented its landscape as new regulations deliver changes.

Data from Bloomberg and CryptoCompare shows the price of a bitcoin in the country now de facto matches global averages.

What do you think about crypto markets’ current performance? When will Bitcoin bottom out? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Led 31

South Korea Government ‘Will Not Ban Or Suppress’ Cryptocurrency – Minister

· January 31, 2018 · 6:30 am

South Korea’s government has confirmed it has “no intention” of banning or “suppressing” cryptocurrency trading in fresh comments on the industry.


‘No Intention To Ban’

In comments Wednesday quoted by Reuters, finance minister Kim Dong-yeon, who earlier in January said that a shutdown was still a possibility, finally ended apprehension surrounding the future of cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Kim had faced a 200,000-strong petition demanding he be fired from his position after the comments, which along with those by justice minister Park Sang-ki, sent shock waves through cryptocurrency markets and sparked public outrage.

South Korea won't ban crypto trading

“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency,” he said.

The confirmation may come as less of a surprise to some, as Seoul moves forward with regulatory improvements to the exchange sector at breakneck speed in recent weeks.

In addition to tax and security obligations, an anonymous trading ban became law Tuesday, with exchanges now obliged to ensure account identities match those of bank accounts.

The pace of change is already causing teething problems, however, as Bitcoinist reported as the ban commenced that big-volume exchanges were finding it considerably easier to work with banks to stay compliant.

Conversely, smaller exchanges faced being cut off from the market through lack of compliance as banks failed to cope with demand. This, sources say, could see one million users caught out.

crypto exchange

Soeul Goes After Illegal Actors

Not just bonafide actors, but also the shadier side of South Korea’s trading market has caught the attention of regulators.

Customs in the country has announced it has uncovered “illegal foreign exchanges” involving cryptocurrency worth almost $600 million this week, with investigations ongoing.

The organization stated:

Customs service has been closely looking at illegal foreign exchange trading using cryptocurrency as part of the government’s task force.

Bitcoin prices have, meanwhile, stopped reacting to developments in South Korea’s regulation after Japan’s major hack and legal troubles at Tether stole the limelight.

What do you think about the latest developments in South Korea? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Pxhere and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share
Led 30

South Korea: Anonymous Trading Ban Leaves a ‘Million’ Users in Limbo

· January 30, 2018 · 9:00 am

South Korea cryptocurrency exchanges are complaining of unfair treatment as the country’s ban on anonymous trading begins Tuesday.


Banks Favor Big Names

According to local news media outlet Business Korea, exchanges using corporate bank accounts may face sudden halts to service or even an obligation to cease trading altogether.

Korean authorities deemed January 30th the date when all citizens trading cryptocurrency must do so through just one account, the identity details of which match their bank account.

Banks have been working to implement the required system at breakneck speed as details were finalized just weeks ago, but teething problems have meant not every exchange is in a position to comply with the new laws.

South Korea Exchange Bithumb Hacked For 'Tens Of Millions' Of Won

Specifically, four major exchanges appear to have been given preferential treatment based upon their size, Business Korea reports. The media outlet states:

…Banks decided to provide a new virtual account service that uses a real name system only to four companies – Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Cobit – which had previously issued virtual accounts, citing their mounting workloads among others.

Other exchanges using corporate rather than virtual accounts may thus be left in limbo as of today, along with the funds of their users who could total over one million.

The result would be a regulatory ‘blind spot’ for those holdings, ironically shielding them from the anti-money laundering eyes of regulators who demanded the switch-up in the first place.

Adoption Push Shows Divide Between Big And Small

The big players in the South Korea exchange arena are faring conspicuously better at the end of January compared to smaller operations. On Monday, major e-commerce platform WeMakePrice even announced it would begin accepting up to 12 coins as payment via a partnership with the largest exchange by volume Bithumb.

Meanwhile, HTS Coin, one of the lesser exchanges facing delays in getting virtual account support from banks, complained that it had itself begun building an identity scheme with its banking partner back in December. This, it was told, was subsequently canceled.

“We have already executed sufficient procedures for confirming the identity of a member when receiving a new member via a corporate account,” a spokesman told Business Korea. “It is against equity to allow only a few exchanges to issue new virtual accounts.”

What do you think about the anonymous trading ban? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Led 24

South Korea Fines 6 Exchanges For Security Law ‘Violations’

· January 24, 2018 · 8:30 am

Six major South Korea cryptocurrency exchanges have received fines of around 25 million won ($23,500) for lax security measures which “violated” laws.


6 Of 10 Exchanges Ordered To Pay

As local news media outlet Yonhap News Agency reports Wednesday, government officials will press forward with penalties in what some commentators view as an increasingly promising sign of bringing the domestic cryptocurrency industry under regulatory control.

“Although the size of transactions and the number of users are surging, overall user protection measures are insufficient,” the publication quotes the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) as saying.

South Korea

The decision to fine exchanges flouting the Information and Communications Act, which include well-known names such as Korbit, Coinone and Coinplug, follows a joint investigation into security setups at ten exchanges which several government agencies ran from October to December last year.

‘Tiny’ Fines

The move is the latest is Seoul’s ongoing bid to solidify the exchange market, having confirmed this week that anonymous trading would end January 30 and exchanges must pay tax on 2017 profits in full by April 30.

Reactions have been mixed, with native exchange users in particular sensitive following mass uproar resulting from the government’s handling of the issue over the past months.

Consensus appears to be similarly lacking on the fines, a KCC source telling Yonhap the amounts involved are “too low” and industry figures likewise voicing suspicions.

“I know there is an indication that the amount imposed on each operator is too low, but this measure imposes the maximum amount possible under current information and communication network law,” the official stated.

Nonetheless, security problems at Korean exchanges have received significant negative press amid rumors North Korea was stealing funds for its own ends on a regular basis.

Amid the suspicion, one media company hired white hat hackers to create and then compromise accounts on five exchanges, which it reports was successfully done with what it describes as “basic” tools.

What do you think about the South Korean exchange fines? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Show comments

Share
Led 23

South Korea ‘Legalizes’ Cryptocurrency Trading, Bans Anonymity

· January 23, 2018 · 8:30 am

South Korea lawmakers have confirmed cryptocurrency exchanges will become de facto legal January 30 as they enact new laws about anonymity in trading.


6 Banks On Board For Change

In its most recent statements, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) confirmed that exchanges must only permit trades from customers whose name matches their bank account. Foreign citizens, both native and non-native, will not be allowed to trade.

“Establishment of the system for ‘real name verification of deposit and withdrawal accounts’ for settlement will be completed by January 30, 2018,” the FSC documentation reads.*

So far, six of Korea’s major banks have signed up to implement the required monitoring changes following collaboration with the government on inspection of anonymous exchange trading accounts earlier this month.

These are Shinhan Bank, Nonghyup Bank, Industrial Bank, Kookmin Bank, Hana Bank and Gwangju Bank.

Exchanges Prepare In Advance

In reactions to the setting in stone of the new way of trading cryptocurrency, major exchanges presented various requirements for users.

Korbit, one of the leading platforms along with Bithumb, told customers to open an account at Shinhan specifically in order to continue trading.

“To use the new KRW deposit method, which is slated to be implemented within this month, you must have a Shinhan Bank account registered under your legal name. Please use this time to create a banking account at Shinhan Bank,” a post states.

South Korea Bans Bitcoin Futures As Authorities Consider Crypto Income Tax

Foreign-based customers had been able to gain access to the Korean market through virtual bank accounts and other tools, but they, along with minors, now face a moratorium of undetermined length.

On Monday, Seoul also addressed the issue of taxation on cryptocurrency exchanges, which are now obliged to pay a corporation tax and local income tax for 2017 profits amounting to 24.2%.

Markets continued to fall slightly through Tuesday, with the cementing of Korea’s official regulatory position on crypto trading having little effect on overall flat sentiment.

*This quotation is extracted from the first PDF file available in attachments via the source link.

What do you think about the latest news from South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchange regulation? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Show comments

Share
Led 19

Singapore Bitcoin ATMs Sold Out, Trading Still Allowed

· January 19, 2018 · 6:30 am

When markets are volatile and crashes occur, the majority of people are cashing out and taking profits or panic selling. There are some, however, who see opportunity in the sea of red and buy up at lower prices. This is exactly what has been happening in Singapore this week when Bitcoin ATM machines ran dry.


According to reports, Bitcoin machines in downtown Singapore sold out of the virtual currency yesterday as prices plummeted below $10,000 for the first time since the end of November.

Lions and Bulls

Amid more confusion over clampdowns across the Asia Pacific region, prices fell and markets dropped as much as 40% since highs just after New Year. Much of the impetus for crypto market prices originates in Southeast Asia where they are traded heavily. Western media outlets, such as Reuters and CNBC, amplify the FUD when they misreport about total clampdowns that have not occurred.

Singaporeans, however, remain unperturbed and have been snapping up the digital currency at low prices. One café manager who has a Bitcoin ATM told media:

We had to put an ‘out of service’ sign at our machine. Over the past two days, we’ve had 20 to 30 people line up, from about 10 on a usual day.

Bitcoin Exchange founder Zann Kwan, who owns two machines on the island state, said the buying frenzy was bigger in December as BTC approached record highs:

Sellers are holding back in anticipation of higher prices, so we have less bitcoin supply. Buyers on the other hand are hoping prices will crash some more, so they can buy.

Nobody Panic

Experienced crypto traders and Bitcoin investors will know that market corrections are nothing new. However, a wave of panic sets in when those who are new to the markets rush to sell off their crypto for fears of a complete collapse. The despair was wide-reaching with suicide helplines appearing in crypto groups in the US. Additionally, South Koreans posted pictures of smashed up computers in anger at their government’s constant indecision and threats to close exchanges.

The official stance of the Monetary Authority of Singapore was outlined to the media:

MAS regulates the activities that surround virtual currencies if those activities fall within our scope as a financial regulator. The risks surrounding virtual currency exchanges include those related to money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF). Virtual currency transactions, given their anonymous nature, are particularly vulnerable to abuse for ML/TF. MAS will therefore introduce anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism requirements on virtual currency intermediaries that deal in or facilitate the exchange of virtual currencies for real currencies. The regulations will extend to the exchange of virtual currency for fiat currency, or another virtual currency.

As in South Korea, the government wants more transparency and less anonymity with cryptocurrency trading. It does not want to shut it down.

Do you use Bitcoin ATMs to buy and sell? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Bitcoinist archives.

Show comments

Share