Bitcoin price plunges 60% as South Korea launches a real-name trading system
摘要： South Korea now forces citizens to identify themselves for bank transactions and prevents foreigners from crypto currency trading. It may lose its first-mover advantage.
Real-name registration system in place
It was reported on 30 January that a real-name registration system for crypto currency trading offically went into effect in South Korea. Its 6 major banks, including Shinhan Bank, Nonghyup Bank, the Industrial Bank of Korea, KB Kookmin Bank, KEB Hana Bank and Gwangju Bank, would install the real-name system for investors and close all existing cryptocurrency accounts. It is devised to enforce a real-name system for virtual currency trading and regulate banks and exchanges in order to curb money laundering and speculation.
According to the new policy, all exchanges must only allow virtual currency transactions between real-name bank accounts and matching crypto-exchange accounts. Foreign nationals are excluded from the market whether they are residents or not. Foreigners living outside South Korea without a local bank account, along with minors under 19, are banned from buying or selling digital currencies including bitcoin.
In addition, banks have the right to refuse to open accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges that are unwilling to disclose information about suspicious trading. They are able to monitor personal and corporate accounts with large transactions and report suspicious activities to the authorities.
Local cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone, Upbit, Coinnest, Korbit and Coinplug, also displays pop-up windows to inform users of completing real-name registration or re-opening a real-name account.
Kim Yong-beom, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), broke the news to the press on 23 January. “No one, including the government, can endorse the value of digital currency,” Kim said, “The volatile nature of digital currency requires tremendous caution for investment decisions.”
The South Korean government previously suggested banning anonymous trading in digital currency entirely to crack down speculation and potential crimes, and to prevent cryptocurrency from being used in money laundering, tax evasion and other illegal activities.
Obligations of cryptocurrency exchanges
Under the state regulator FSC, South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) investigated the 6 major banks before the new regulation was announced. Results indicated that many platforms handled funds from users via their corporate account, “and what’s more, 4 trading platforms has illegally handled KRW58.6 billion using their corporate account directly.”
Therefore, the FSC published obligations for trading platforms who are required to report to FIU and relevant authorities regarding the following suspicious transactions:
1. A user makes deposits or withdrawals of more than KRW10 million per day;
2. A user makes deposits or withdrawals of more than KRW20 million per week;
3. A user makes deposits or withdrawals more than 5 times per day or trades frequently in a short time;
4. A cryptocurrency exchange fails to provide their investors’ (users’) ID information;
5. A company or an organization deposits or withdraws their money from bank accounts to trade cryptocurrencies;
6. A platform continuously remit funds to its managers and employees.
Since the new rules came into place, 66 members of the Korea Blockchain Industry Association have expressed support for implementation. However, bitcoin price plunged on Bithumb, South Korea’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange, on the day of announcement.
Bloomberg refers to it as a “brutal start to 2018” for South Korea’s virtual currency market. The so-called kimchi premium is disappearing, as bitcoin has dropped as much as 60%, 51% more than the slump in the global market since the middle of January, signaling the beginning of a crypto winter in South Korea.
Currency value determined by multiple factors
Based on CoinMarketCap.com data, it is estimated that the current value of entire virtual currency market amounts to approximately JPY46608.6 billion (about $423.368 billion), back to the level in the middle of last December.
Recent news in the crypto market influences the price in addition to South Korea’s real-name system.
According to CoinMarketCap, the value of virtual currency tumbled at around 10:30am on 2 February 2018, down about 10-30% within 24 hours.