The Korea Herald


Rumors of protest against cryptocurrency clampdown spread online

By Son Ji-hyoung

Published : Dec. 29, 2017 - 14:00

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In the wake of the South Korean government’s signal that it may shut down cryptocurrency exchange businesses, rumors circulated online Friday that a protest against the government’s anti-cryptocurrency move would be held in Gwanghwamun Plaza in central Seoul on Saturday night.

An online post said a protest would begin at 8 p.m. Saturday to fight the state-led crackdown “without the slightest legal basis.” The post claimed the crackdown hurts those that cannot afford real estate assets and have less financial leeway for investment.

A poster heralds a protest slated Saturday against the government's anti-cryptocurrency move. (Online communities) A poster heralds a protest slated Saturday against the government's anti-cryptocurrency move. (Online communities)

Police, however, have not received notice that a protest would take place and, as of Friday afternoon, permission for the protest had not been granted. Under the law, those holding a protest must notify police at least two days before it is due to take place.

The rumor began to emerge soon after the government on Thursday imposed an immediate ban on the use of anonymous virtual accounts in cryptocurrency transactions and allowed traders to use only real-name bank accounts in cryptocurrency exchanges, following a pangovernmental meeting.

Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination who presided over the meeting, said shutting down all cryptocurrency exchanges is one option, depending on the level of cryptocurrency speculation after state measures. 

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Moreover, the FSC is reportedly poised to operate a team for six months starting January to ramp up pressure on addressing the national cryptocurrency issue. The team will be launched under the FSC’s Electronic Finance Division, a subordinate entity of Banking & Insurance Bureau.

As of 12 p.m. Friday, Bitcoin rose 1 percent from Thursday, a slight recovery from the 9 percent drop Thursday, according to coin price tracker Coinass. Bitcoin in Korea traded at 19.3 million won ($18,050), over 20 percent more expensive than the world’s average. As of Friday at noon, the price had jumped 15 times from January this year.

By Son Ji-hyoung (