“There are cases in which young Koreans including students are jumping in to make quick money and virtual currencies are used in illegal activities like drug dealing or multi-level marketing for frauds,” South Korea’s Prime Minister, Lee Nak-yeon, worries. South Korea is a giant within the bitcoin ecosystem even though its government has an uneasy relationship with cryptos. However, regulators as far away as Mexico, and to a lesser degree Kazakhstan, seem to be embracing parts of the decentralized currency revolution.
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South Korea PM and Social Pathology
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon of South Korea is decidedly not a fan of his country’s youthful enthusiasm for bitcoin, and gave stark warnings to its perceived dangers. Appealing to the country’s Ministry of Justice for guidance, he implored: “This can lead to serious distortion or social pathological phenomena, if left unaddressed.”
South Korea is a wired country, and as such is unusually poised for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. It typically commands as much as 20 percent of crypto trading markets. On Korea’s most popular exchanges, bitcoin has already broken 10,000 USD.
Its government, however, has a typically schizophrenic relationship with bitcoin. It is widely believed to be hands-off, but it did outright ban initial coin offerings recently. The Prime Minister’s remarks appear to imply another hostile action by the state might be on the way.
The trend from far and disparate parts of the globe is for governments to be at least hesitant at the brave new cryptocurrency reality, though some regulators appear to be more open than others.
Mexico Looks to Open the Way
If South Korea seems headed for weirdness regarding all things crypto, encouraging news is coming from Mexico. General Director of the Bank of Mexico, Alan Elizondo, detailed a new amendment to a year-long developing piece of financial technology legislation rumored to be passed at any time. It would essentially allow banks to handle “cryptoactive agents,” he told El Universal.
According to the paper, “recognized institutions of banking and financial entities are the ones that [will] operate with bitcoin and other approved cryptocurrencies.” Mr. Elizondo explained they’re “working to ‘open the way’ to cryptoactives in the country, and that one of the advantages of the regulatory framework that they hope to implement is that users would have greater certainty and security of the financial services they use.”
Though this is a step toward embracing cryptocurrencies, they will still not be allowed as legal tender but will instead “be treated as exchangeable digital assets.” The previous, original draft of the legislation made no mention of cryptocurrencies until this present amendment.
Kazakhs Create Crypto Associations, Seek State Sanction
As Mexico takes regulatory steps toward allowing cryptocurrencies, Kazakhstan citizens are beginning grassroots efforts at promotion and education. Most bitcoiners around the world would kill to live in a country that pays no mind to their doings. For a variety of reasons, however, Kazakhs wish to get their government’s blessing through its Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (BCA).
The BCA presently only has six members with twice that many applying for membership.
“According to one source, the legislative aspect will heavily depend on how both industries evolve over the next two years,” The Merkle notes.
What do you think of developments in South Korea, Mexico, and Kazakhstan? Tell us in the comments below!
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