Crypto-community is not too pleased
The South Korean government’s recent slew of statements about cryptocurrency has sparked rage among the citizens, who are now publishing and signing online petitions left, right, and center.
The backlash sparked over the past few weeks when there were sudden reports of South Korean authorities auditing banks that maintain accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges, followed by reported raids at a few cryptocurrency exchanges as well.
While the move of auditing the banks was met with an ambivalent approach, the incidents with the exchanges coupled with the Justice Minister’s statement about banning cryptocurrency in the country were met with negativity by the citizens of South Korea.
Park Sang-ki, the Justice minister of South Korea said at the time:
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges.”
These comments were then followed by the Finance Ministry’s response about it not being aware of such an initiative, but nothing was confirmed by either institution afterward.
That was last week, and since then, both the global cryptocurrency industry and the local South Korean one have been going through the not so pleasant experience of uncertainty. Mixed reports and conflicting statements are coming from all sides of the South Korean government, and no one knows which way the government would decide to go with the regulations.
However it plays out, one thing remains clear, the South Korean cryptocurrency community is not happy, and it is not afraid to register its disappointment.
Here come the petitions
It was reported that an online petition was created immediately after the justice minister’s comments, asking the government for his removal.
Another petition was registered on the government’s website, asking the South Korean President to look into the matter at hand and not denounce cryptocurrency as a “bad investment.”
The petition further stated that if the government has to treat cryptocurrency negatively due to the risks of investment, then it should also ban stocks trading. It explained that any lousy investment is on the risk of the investor and the commodity should not be penalized for it.
According to the site, if a petition obtains more than 200,000 signatures, then it is entitled to a response by the government within 30 days.
That petition now has more than 220,000 signatures. However, there has been no response from the government as of yet.
Even government employees trade in cryptocurrency
While the government is asking the citizens not to invest in cryptocurrencies, it also has to sing the same song to its employees.
Hong Nam-ki, Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination (OPC), recently informed government employees by saying, “cryptocurrency investments by government officials is inappropriate.”
It was also reported that a government employee had been involved in insider trading.
Choi Heung-Sik, director of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service, recently mentioned that the agency was currently looking into reports of its employees. The employee in question was a part of a cryptocurrency regulation task force and reportedly made off with around 50 percent in profit by selling his cryptocurrency right before the government announcement to ban minors and foreign nationals from trading cryptocurrencies in South Korea.
As per reports, the employee claimed that he was not aware of the updates and had been on vacation at the time.
The precarious nature of the events and the environment that they have created is causing the South Korean citizens to be nervous. Furthermore, no clear stance from the government is also impacting the global cryptocurrency industry that since last week has seen noticeable fluctuation, and it is largely attributed to being linked with the situation in South Korea.
The South Korean government is expected to provide an update in the next few days, but even that timeframe has not been confirmed by official sources yet.