The Nikkei Asian Review reported on May 31 that according to data provided by the South Korean opposition party “National Forces”, the four major cryptocurrency platforms in South Korea added 2.5 million accounts, in the first quarter of 2021, with about 64 percent of those being in their 20s and 30s.

This was backed by another survey published on May 31 by the job portal “Alba Heaven”, which showed that 53% of the 1,750 college students surveyed hold a positive view of cryptocurrency investment, and 15% of them regard cryptocurrency as the last chance to get rid of their current social status.

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Seoul Not Big Promulgators of Crypto

However it hasn’t been smooth sailing for digital assets, as similar to Nigeria, the government have truncated the growth of cryptos by installing several roadblocks.

The South Korean Herald reported on May 26 that Eun Sung-soo, Chairman of the South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC), warned on April 22 that if South Korea’s 200 cryptocurrency exchanges do not complete the registration before September 25, they may all be forcibly closed.

He added at the time that cryptocurrency is a virtual asset with no intrinsic value, and the authorities will not be obliged to provide protection just because there are many investors.

Timeline of Seoul’s Anti-Crypto Agenda in The Past Week 

  • Yonhap News Agency reported that the South Korean government announced on May 28 that it will levy a 20% income tax on the capital gains of cryptocurrency transactions starting from 2022.
  • The Bank of South Korea (BOK) announced on May 24 that it will conduct a simulation test on the functionality of the “Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)” during the period from August this year to June next year.
  • Bloomberg reported on May 31 that Derville Rowland, Director of Financial Conduct Supervision at the Bank of Ireland, said in an interview that encrypted assets are a very speculative and unregulated investment, and people should be aware that they may lose all their investments.
  • Yahoo Finance reported that James Bullard, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, warned in an interview on May 24 that there are thousands of private cryptocurrencies, most of which are worthless and people should be extra careful when investing in the assets.

But it’s not all grim reading, as in good news to the ears of the Asian nation, Nigeria has lifted the embargo and restrictions placed on cryptocurrency in a welcome change of heart following a lengthy rethink.

It is expected, or rather hoped for that Seoul will follow in the footsteps of the so called ‘Giants of Africa’.

All of these regulations have caused a strain on Bitcoin which is struggling to hold at US$36,731.01, a 42.4% drop from the historical high (US$63,729.5) attained on April 13.

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