Will it be the end of the Cryptocurrency Era in South Korea?


  • South Korea is one of the biggest cryptocurrency markets in the world.
  • Cryptocurrency exchanges need to register to the revised financial legislation act by 24th September.
  • Income from cryptocurrency trading will be taxed in S Korea by 2022.

In South Korea cryptocurrency trading is gaining a fast growing popularity,specifically amongst the young generation.Cryptocurrency trading soared toward the end of 2020 in the country due to various factors and increased rate of unemployment is definitely one.Crypto trading market growth has given financial stability and prosperity in the midst of the pandemic-Covid in 2020 S. Korea is believed to be the 3rd highest market for crypto after the US and Japan. Having said that, crypto trading and exchange platforms are not considered legal and have been closely monitored by the government regulatory system.Crypto trading has been in close scrutiny by the south korean government  and was also rumoured to get banned which never happened. 

In 2017, the government made a strict change in legislation and banned anonymous trading.They also implemented bans for local financial institutes to host bitcoin

trading. They further imposed stricter rules for traders to open a “real name bank account”, and  only allowed trading between dealers who have the same real name bank account. 

Strict regulation on cryptocurrency and exchanges in South Korea

Recently the financial services commission(FSC), Eun Sung-soo has recently announced a new regulation for cryptocurrency exchanges, where all the exchanges need to register with FSC under the new funds act. This revised act is formed in order to mitigate any scope of illegal and forgery conduct in cryptocurrency trading.This amended bill was passed into effect on March 25 however, Eun confirmed that no exchanges have yet registered to the revised bill.Its mandatory for all the exchanges to register to the new regulation by 24th Sept and failing to do so will prohibit them to trade in South Korea. 

It is mandatory for exchanges to meet all the requirements of the revised act such as obtaining information security management system (ISMS) certification and issuance of real-name accounts. Cryptocurrency exchanges are not yet sure if they can meet the requirements, specifically real-name accounts and it may lead to mass shut down of exchanges in S. Korea. 

 Cryptocurrency investment doesn’t come under the income category yet for traders in S. Korea.However, it’s confirmed that income from cryptocurrency investment will be classified as other income and it will be taxed at 20% rate.The new taxation rule will be applicable from Jan 2022 with tax reporting required from June 2023.

Currently, the cryptocurrency market is facing a regulation process across the world. This market is considered new, unstable and fast growing. However, it’s been identified that the main problem is that not any government has issued a regulation document based on cryptocurrencies markets or still the regulations are not really clear for traders. On the 21st of May, the crypto market was impacted by the news of the Financial China Committee that China will take strict restrictions on Bitcoin (BTC) training and mining.

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