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FILE PHOTO: A South Korean employee of a securities firm reacts in front of a graph showing stock price in Seoul March 11, 2003. /File photo - S1AETLECOXAA
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Gone are the days.

South Korea has banned all forms of initial coin offerings in the country

Zheping Huang
By Zheping Huang


From our Obsession

Future of Finance

New technology is upending everything in finance.

South Korea’s financial regulator announced today (Sept. 29) that it will ban initial coin offerings (ICOs)—a new funding mechanism based on virtual currencies that is able to raise millions of dollars in a matter minutesReuters and state news agency Yonhap reported.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) said in a statement that the ban will cover “all forms of initial coin offerings regardless of using a certain technology or a certain name,” citing the risks of scams are growing in the sector, according to Yonhap. The FSC also said it will step up crackdowns against any illegal trading in cryptocurrency, Yonhap noted.

South Korea’s move follows a wave of global regulations against the crypto-token frenzy worldwide. Earlier this month, Chinese regulators announced it would ban all ICOs, and later called for domestic crypto exchanges to halt all trading services for Chinese customers. Australia just released its own guidelines for businesses considering raising funds through ICOs. The US securities regulator has signaled greater scrutiny of ICOs, but stopped short of suggesting a wider crackdown.

The price of bitcoin has fallen around 2% since South Korea’s ICO ban was first reported on Sept. 29. The price of the cryptocurrency ethereum—whose protocol many ICOs rely on—was down around 4% during the same period.

Last week, South Korea overtook China to become the world’s third largest market for bitcoin trading. The ether-Korean won currency pair also accounted for nearly 30% of the global ether trading in the last 24 hours, according to data from Coin Marketcap.

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