South Korea Considers Steps to Rein in the Bitcoin Frenzy

December 13, 2017, 10:03 AM UTC

South Korea will move to rein in the frenzy around bitcoin by banning minors from opening accounts on exchanges, and possibly by taxing capital gains from the trading of cryptocurrencies.

Reuters reported the proposals following an emergency government meeting on Wednesday. According to an earlier report, some within the South Korean justice ministry had been calling for an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading.

Bitcoin has had a meteoric rise in value this year. It started 2017 around the $1,000 mark and is currently worth around $17,250.

However, while that value has had a clear upward trend, it is extremely volatile on a short-term basis, and regulators and economists around the world have been piling on to warn people about the risks of investing in bitcoin. With some people reportedly taking out mortgages to make such investments, it’s not hard to see why.

According to that Reuters report, the South Korean government will also force exchanges to “uphold investor protection rules and disclose all bid and offer quotes.” The government there will formally announce these moves on Friday.

There are also cryptocurrency regulations, both current and incoming, in plenty of other countries and blocs such as U.S., Japan and the European Union.

Although the more libertarian elements of the bitcoin scene see regulation as antithetical to the cryptocurrency’s nature, not everyone in the bitcoin business opposes such moves. Many see formal rules as part of bitcoin’s legitimization—a sign that it’s being taken seriously and therefore here to stay.