The South Korean government enacted regulations which will require all cryptocurrency accounts to be associated with real identities. The move comes amid the investment frenzy we’ve seen in the past few months, and the South Korean government hopes the new regulations will stem speculative trading which has recently taken off in South Korea. Naturally, the value of bitcoin dropped 12 percent once this news hit, and ethereum followed suit, falling 6 percent, according to Engadget.
“Cryptocurrency speculation has been irrationally overheated in Korea. The government can’t let this abnormal situation of speculation go on any longer,” the South Korean government said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times.
TechCrunch has a slightly different take, suggesting that the move to ban anonymous cryptocurrency accounts will have the fortunate side-effect of making it harder for North Korea to infiltrate the South’s crypto markets. TechCrunch previously reported that the Kim Jong Un regime may be using cryptocurrency trading as a side business for the Kim family. The new regulations banning anonymous accounts should make it harder for the North to turn a profit on cryptocurrency trading.
The new regulations are tricky for a number of reasons, not least of which because they will do away with one of the alluring features cryptocurrencies offer: Anonymity. The South Korean government is also worried that putting regulations on cryptocurrencies could have the effect of legitimizing them in the eyes of everyday people, who have recently been swept up in the cryptocurrency craze.
“It’s really tricky for the government,” said S.G. Lee, chairman of the Korean Fintech Industry Association. “They are worried about giving a wrong perception to the people.”
According to The New York Times, the new regulations are a warning shot for the overheated crypto market and investors who are making a killing off of the rampant speculation. The South Korean government hopes to cool things down by making it clear to investors that they will, if necessary, crack down hard on cryptocurrencies.
All of this comes in the wake of several high-profile instances of cryptocurrency exchanges going under after losing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies to malicious hackers. TechCrunch reports South Korean crypto exchange YouBit folded just last week after losing $35 million.