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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Feb. 3)

2018/02/03 09:35

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Two sides of the same bitcoin

Officials denied rumors about the government releasing another set of cryptocurrency regulations on Wednesday, but the correction didn't stop investors from starting an online campaign encouraging others to vote against the governing party in upcoming legislative elections.

The latest development underscores the country's undying interest in cryptocurrencies and the government's distrust in the market. While some investors might be disgruntled by the meddling, authorities must nonetheless enforce some order in a trade still ripe with speculators in their 20s and 30s, a group that includes college students and young conscripts.

At the same time, the market cannot be seen entirely through a regulatory context. Despite government skepticism about these so-called fake currencies, tech companies have been rushing to engage in the trade.

This week, Naver announced it was entering the cryptocurrency business through its Japanese subsidiary Line. Kakao, which runs the country's most widely used chat app, has invested in fintech start-up Dunamu, which runs its own cryptocurrency exchange. In September, the holding company of leading game publisher Nexon bought Korbit, Korea's second-largest cryptocurrency exchange.

The investments by these three tech giants are not coincidental. They're betting on a future with cryptocurrencies. Therefore, the market must be seen for its huge potential, not just its risks.

The fever has died down somewhat after the government required investors to use accounts with real names. Before, cryptocurrency traders were able to use anonymous accounts.

A blockchain association with 66 exchanges and research centers could ease confusion and set some order. The association plans to explore other areas of application for cryptocurrencies and develop indexes for measuring actual trade volume and fees.

A lack of detailed information has led to blind investment and losses. However, when various studies are made available to the public, the habitat for cryptocurrencies can evolve in a healthy manner.

(END)

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