Crypto markets are in the green today with leading digital currency Bitcoin gaining around 4 percent over the last 24 hours. The reason behind the sudden pump after a lull in the markets appears to be news out of South Korea.
Earlier today, lawmakers made amendments to the nation’s financial regulations regarding crypto. Many publications, crypto and otherwise, have reported that crypto is now “legal” in South Korea.
Wait, When Was Crypto Illegal in South Korea?
One of the most active cryptocurrency markets on the planet received some rather bullish news earlier today. The nation of South Korea made amendments to financial regulations that will provide much greater clarity for both crypto asset traders and the companies offering such services.
Although clarity for South Korean crypto traders and the exchanges they use is certainly bullish, both cryptocurrency media and more mainstream publications have blown the story somewhat out of proportion. For example, a report in The News Asia ran with the bold headline “Cryptocurrency Now Fully Legal in South Korea.”
The change, according to legislation, is an effort to clampdown on money laundering and terrorist financing. It will require that all cryptocurrency exchanges enforce know-your-customer checks on traders. The trading venues will also need to comply with stricter reporting obligations.
The amendment to the Act on Reporting and Use of Specific Financial Information, which passed on Thursday, will go into full force within 18 months of today. It comes after two long years of uncertainty for traders and companies in the South Korean crypto industry.
However, as Twitter user Alex (@classicmacro) points out in the following tweet, the amendment doesn’t actually change the legal status of Bitcoin or other crypto assets at all. Simply, it was never actually illegal to trade digital currencies in South Korea.
He points out that the only thing that really changes is KYC and AML requirements.
This is still very bullish.
Up to now, Korean banks were not interested in doing KYC/AML for crypto, so exchanges had a hard time onboarding clients, and crypto in Korea was sort of dead.
This will change now.
But realize the "Now Fully Legal" headlines are grossly misleading.
— Alex (@classicmacro) March 5, 2020
That said, the news it certainly bullish for the industry at large. The amendment does legally define cryptocurrency and the exchanges that facilitate the trading of it.
Additionally, as pointed out above, it will mean that more crypto asset companies in South Korea will likely find it easier to access banking services and provide fiat on ramps.
Prices Respond to South Korea Developments
Despite (or perhaps because of) the questionable reporting on the South Korea developments, crypto prices are in the green today. Bitcoin has pumped to more than $9,100 at the time of writing – a more than four percent 24-hour gain.
The South Korea-associated ICON (ICX) has performed even better. The 24-hour low of the digital asset is currently just over $0.32.
After news of today’s favourable legislative change broke, ICX rose to just short of $0.42. It has since retraced but, at over $0.40 is still trading well above today’s low.
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