​South Korea imposes stricter authentication for bitcoin accounts

South Korea will ban virtual accounts currently used for virtual currency trading while allowing authenticated bank accounts for new trades.

South Korea will only allow authenticated bank accounts for virtual currency trading starting next Tuesday, January 30.

Those with virtual currency accounts created by banks after their real name has been checked will be allowed to trade, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the nation's finance watchdog, and Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) and the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) announced.

Currently used virtual accounts given directly by exchanges that don't authenticate the real names of users will be banned. As previously announced, foreigners and minors will not be allowed to create virtual currency accounts even if their identity is checked out.

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The regulation is much softer than previously expected and not a total ban as some feared. FSC head Choi Jong-ku last week told MPs that they were mulling whether to shut down all exchanges or some suspected of illegal activity.

Those who wish to trade must use the accounts from the same bank that their selected exchange uses to put in and withdraw money. Using an account from a different bank from the exchange will only allow them to withdraw money.

Banks will monitor the exchanges and can refuse customers if they suspect money laundering or creating authenticated accounts.

Daily transactions worth 10 million won ($9,000) per day, or 20 million won ($18,000) per week, will be reported to KoFIU for inspection to determine whether illegal activity is going on.

Last week, due to fears of draconian regulation, a petition demanding ease of regulation to the Blue House, South Korea's Presidential Office, gained 200,000 signatories.

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