The South Korean government has officially confirmed that there will be no trading ban on cryptocurrency being planned, at least in the near future. This was confirmed by the executive office, The Blue House, and even the official residence of the South Korean President. Earlier the South Korean Ministry had independently announced its plans to ban the same. This was followed by a widespread backlash which forced the government to come out with its official stand. It is understood that the Ministry of Justice announced its plans to ban the cryptocurrency trading without consulting the Ministry of Strategy and Justice. They had also not involved the other agencies that are the taskforce of the South Korean cryptocurrency regulation.
The ban confusion
The Blue House said that over 60,000 citizens voted for a petition to fire Park Sang-ki, the head of the Ministry of Justice who had independently announced the cryptocurrency ban on Jan 11. This statement was almost immediately countered by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which emphasized that it is not in agreement on or support of this decision. They also further clarified their Ministry came to know about this decision only due to the media reports, indicating that they were not consulted upon the same. Further, they confirmed that neither the concerned task force was in agreement with it.
It may be noted that in 2016, millions of South Korean citizens had taken to the streets to protest against former South Korean President Park Geun-hye. This resulted in him getting impeached and he is currently serving a jail term for money laundering. This event has strengthened the voice of the South Korean citizens and the current government led by President Moon Jae-in has promised to listen to the people.
Now that the government has made their stand clear on not supporting the cryptocurrency trade ban, it is expected that they may consider the options of regulating the same.
An official spokesperson of the South Korean cryptocurrency regulation task force mentioned that a ban may not happen even in the long term. The idea of the government was more to regulate the same using set roadmaps in line with the other countries like the US and Japan. The spokesperson made it clear that a long term ban was highly unlikely, since, despite the negative reputation, the government was committed to allowing what has to be allowed, keeping in mind the benefits to the South Korean market.