South Korean financial authorities said Sunday that cryptocurrency investors must change anonymous virtual accounts to ones attached to their identity or face penalties.
The unnamed authorities said that cryptocurrency investors and traders will be allowed to convert their virtual accounts to real-name accounts before the end of January, but if this is not done, they will be fined, according to a Yonhap News report.
The amount of the penalty has not yet been finalized, the report indicates.
The news was announced as Korean banks move to phase out anonymous virtual currency accounts in line with the government's stated plan to calm what it perceives as an overheated cryptocurrency market.
According to The Korea Times, however, Shinhan Bank said Jan. 12 it does not intend to introduce an identity verification service for deposits and withdrawals from virtual bank accounts – effectively ruling out the opening of new virtual accounts, even with identification.
An official from Shinhan Bank reportedly said:
"We've developed a system to introduce identifying virtual account customers in accordance with the government's efforts to curb the cryptocurrency craze. However, we decided to scrap the service enabling the trade of digital tokens which has become a serious social issue."
In other news, the Korean government again appears to be attempting to calm the markets after the justice minister aired a plan to to ban trading at cryptocurrency exchanges – a statement that sent cryptocurrency prices sliding.
The Office for Government Policy Coordination said this morning: "The proposed shutdown of exchanges that the justice minister recently mentioned is one of the measures suggested by the justice ministry to curb speculation. A government-wide decision will be made in the future after sufficient consultation and coordination of opinions."
The plan to halt trading has been met with opposition from both politicians and the country's citizens, over 100,000 of whom have signed a petition demanding that the government step back from adopting the measure.
Seoul, South Korea image via Shutterstock