By AsiaToday reporter Choi Tae-beom
The South Korean government vowed Monday to keep pushing for real-name transactions and to deal sternly with illegal acts involving cryptocurrency trading.
The government said it will make a decision on a proposed shutdown of all cryptocurrency exchanges after a government-level consultation, and the Office for Government Policy Coordination will take the role in coordinating the positions of the ministries. It also said that it will provide support to research and development relating to blockchain technology.
In a briefing at the Seoul government office on Monday, Jung Ki-joon, a senior official at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, said, "We will respond strongly to cryptocurrency speculation and illegal acts, but we will provide support to research and development relating to blockchain technology."
The government has announced emergency measures to tackle overheating cryptocurrency market twice last year. However, there were confusion among the ministries, sparking confusion in the market and anger among investors.
In particular, Justice Minister Park Sang-ki revealed last Wednesday that the government is preparing a bill to shut down all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The remark intensified investors' opposition and even led to a series of petitions on the Cheong Wa Dae website.
"The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister mentioned recently is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation. A government-wide decision will be made after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions," Jung said.
"As virtual currency is not legal tender and no one guarantees its value, its prices can fluctuate by a large margin and cause big losses," Jung added.