Amid cryptocurrency frenzy, South Korea affirms support for ‘normal’ trading

Bitcoin Cash

The South Korean government recently enacted regulations that require all cryptocurrency accounts to be associated with real identities. The move comes amid an investment frenzy over the past few months, and the South Korean government hoped the new regulations would stem speculative trading that has recently taken off in that country. The value of bitcoin dropped 12 percent once this news hit, and ethereum followed suit, falling 6 percent, according to Engadget. Since then, bitcoin has recovered, to $11,502 as of 7:15 am on February 20, 2018.

“Cryptocurrency speculation has been irrationally overheated in Korea. The government can’t let this abnormal situation of speculation go on any longer,” the South Korean government said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times.

TechCrunch has a slightly different take, suggesting that the move to ban anonymous cryptocurrency accounts will have the fortunate side-effect of making it harder for North Korea to infiltrate the South’s crypto markets. TechCrunch previously reported that the Kim Jong Un regime may be using cryptocurrency trading as a side business for the Kim family. The new regulations banning anonymous accounts should make it harder for the North to turn a profit on cryptocurrency trading.

The new regulations are tricky for a number of reasons, not least of which is because they will do away with one of the alluring features cryptocurrencies offer — anonymity. The South Korean government is also worried that putting regulations on cryptocurrencies could have the effect of legitimizing them in the eyes of everyday people, who have recently been swept up in the cryptocurrency craze.

“It’s really tricky for the government,” said S.G. Lee, chairman of the Korean Fintech Industry Association. “They are worried about giving a wrong perception to the people.”

According to The New York Times, the new regulations are a warning shot for the overheated crypto market and investors who are making a killing off of the rampant speculation. The South Korean government hopes to cool things down by making it clear to investors that it will, if necessary, crack down hard on cryptocurrencies.

More recently, South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon reinforced the government’s message that it does not seek to hold down the nascent market, as China has done. As Reuters reports, Dong-yeon said in a recent statement that “this is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency (market).” This statement comes on the heels of South Korea’s discovery of $600 million worth of illegal cryptocurrency foreign exchange trading, and reinforces the message that regulation is the more immediate option for addressing concerns, as opposed to an outright ban on trading.

Then, as Bloomberg reports, the South Korean government went even further in calming nerves by saying that it is in favor of “normal” cryptocurrency trading and that its Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) is working to normalize digital asset trading. As Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, said, “South Korea did not ban bitcoin. We’ve now gone up almost double in the last few weeks, and I think a lot of this is poeple coming around to the fact that bitcoin trading isn’t going anywhere.”

All of this comes in the wake of several high-profile instances of cryptocurrency exchanges going under after losing millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies to malicious hackers. TechCrunch reports South Korean crypto exchange YouBit folded recently after losing $35 million.

Updated on February 20: Added recent indications from South Korean government that it supports normal cryptocurrency trading.

Mobile

Google One subscriptions offer more cloud storage for low prices, other perks

Can't get enough storage on Google Drive, Photos, or Gmail? Google One is the new way to boost your cloud storage. But it's not just about more space -- Google One comes with a loads of benefits.
Cars

Apple Car may make its debut in the middle of the next decade

Apple likely won't become a full-fledged manufacturer like General Motors or Ford, but the tech giant is diving into the auto industry pool. Here's everything we know about the company's automotive efforts.
Mobile

Samsung confirms the debut of its foldable smartphone isn't far away

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years now and a folding smartphone might finally become a reality. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy F, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

Samsung confirms the Galaxy S10 won't be the first 5G phone

It may be no more than a sparkle in Samsung's eye, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 is definitely coming. Here's everything we know about what's sure to be Samsung's most amazing creation so far.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in August 2018, from ‘Blue Valentine’ to ‘Jurassic Park’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Social Media

How to use Adobe Spark Post to spice up your social media images

Images are proven to get more likes than plain text -- but only if those images are good. Adobe Spark post is an AI-powered design program for non-designers. Here's how to use it to take your social media feeds to the next level.
Photography

A turn for the better: Loupedeck+ adds custom dials, more to Lightroom console

The Loupedeck+ improves on the original Lightroom console by adding welcome customization options and introducing support for Skylum Aurora HDR. What's even better is that it does this all at an even lower price.
Computing

Intel serves up ‘Bean Canyon’ NUCs revved with ‘Coffee Lake’ CPUs

Looking for a super-compact PC for streaming media that doesn’t break the bank? Intel updated its NUC family with its new “Bean Canyon” kits. Currently, there are five with a starting price of $300 packing eighth-generation Intel Core…
Deals

Save hundreds with the best MacBook deals for August 2018

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.
Computing

Lost without 'Print Screen'? Here's how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook

Chrome OS has a number of built-in screenshot options, and can also be used with Chrome screenshot extensions for added flexibility. You have a lot of options, but learning how to take a screenshot on a Chromebook is easy.
Computing

Gaming on a laptop has never been better. These are your best options

Gaming desktops are powerful, but they tie you down to your desk. For those of us who prefer a more mobile experience, here are the best gaming laptops on the market, ranging from budget machines to maxed-out, wallet-emptying PCs.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Computing

Asus claims ‘world’s thinnest’ title with its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop

The Republic of Gamers arm at Asus is claiming “world’s thinnest” with the introduction of its new Zephyrus S gaming laptop measuring just 0.58 inches at its thinnest point. The company also revealed the Strix SCAR II.
Computing

Intel teases new dedicated graphics card slated for 2020 release

Intel has confirmed plans to launch a dedicated graphics card in 2020. Although precious few details exist for the card at this time, it was silhouetted in a recent Intel video showcased at Siggraph 2018.