‘Impossible’ to Shutter Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Govt. Lacks Authority: Korea’s Fair Trade Chief



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The chairman of Korea’s Fair Trade Commission – the economic competition regulator – has blasted efforts to shutter cryptocurrency exchanges before calling on the government to regulate the industry instead.

In a radio interview yesterday, FTC chairman Kim Sang-Joo plainly opined it is “not realistically possible” to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, adding that the law does not permit authorities like the justice ministry to close cryptocurrency exchanges.

In quotes reported by JoongAng, Korea’s largest media network, Kim said of the proposed ban in translated statements by CCN:

“[Shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges] is not realistically possible. Based on electronic commerce law, the government does not have the authority to close down cryptocurrency trading platforms.”

The official was offering his take on the recent controversial statements by the country’s justice minister Park Sang-ki. In a press briefing a week ago, the latter revealed the ministry was “preparing legislation that basically bans any transactions based on a virtual currency through trading.” In essence, a complete shutdown of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges “would be one of the goals we are aiming for,” justice minister Park said. The backlash from the Korean public was immediate and fierce, compelling the official office of the Korean president to release a statement cooling fears of a ban on trading, on the same day of the justice minister’s statement.

The statement is particularly notable, coming from the chairman of the country’s economic competition regular and a member of South Korea’s cryptocurrency task force – an inter-governmental collective tasked to propose a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency industry. The FTC joins the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, a fellow task-force member, in refusing to support the proposed ban by the Ministry of Justice.

Asked if the increased investments into cryptocurrencies is due to excessive speculation, chairman Kim expressed a hands-off approach, pitting cryptocurrencies alongside any other traditional investment. He stated:

“From the viewpoint of an economist, it is not a fair and transparent decision to outright ban economic activity. Whether it is excessive speculation or not, the gain or the loss is the responsibility of the investor.”

Furthermore, Kim called or a more nuanced regulatory approach with limits for investors. A ban, if needed, would extend only to crypto exchanges and trading platforms violating rules.

He said:

“The government is investigating into cryptocurrency exchanges to examine whether trading platforms have violated their own terms and conditions by establishing a limit on withdrawals of individual investors.”

With additional reporting from Joseph Young.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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