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S. Korea seeks deeper cooperation with China, Japan in regulating cryptocurrencies

2018/01/08 14:34

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SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top financial regulator said Monday it is seeking deeper cooperation with regulators in China and Japan in curbing speculative transactions of cryptocurrencies, amid global worries about a bubble.

Choi Jong-ku, chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), said vice finance ministers from the three nations had exchanged ideas on regulating cryptocurrencies during a meeting in South Korea last December.

South Korea aims to "set up a detailed system of cooperation" with China and Japan, Choi told reporters.

The FSC chief warned against an "irrational" trend of investing in cryptocurrencies, saying a "fever of speculative investment in cryptocurrencies is ongoing."

   "However, cryptocurrencies are unable to play a role as a means of payment," he said.

The FSC is conducting on-site inspections into six retail banks over accounts used in trading cryptocurrencies, Choi said.

The government will also strengthen requirements of local exchanges to prevent money laundering and toughen punishments for crimes related to virtual currency, Choi said.

Cyrptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, have rapidly gained popularity in recent years among South Korean investors hoping to make quick money.

South Korea is home to one of the world's biggest private bitcoin exchanges, with more than 2 million people estimated to own some of the best-known digital currency.

Despite a boom in cryptocurrency transactions, their exchanges go largely unregulated in South Korea, as they are not recognized as financial products. There are also no rules for protecting virtual currency investors.

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