South Korea has passed new laws requiring that everyone opening a cryptocurrency account use their true, legal names to do so.
South Korea: The Center of Crypto Regulation?
As time goes by, many cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses are seeking out ways to remain fully compliant with federal regulators. The problem is that to do this, they’re often required to invade the privacy of their customers to one extent or another, and this scenario is no exception.
One of the issues at hand is that many argue that cryptocurrency is often utilized for criminal behavior, such as money laundering. While it’s nearly impossible to say how many individuals are using crypto to perform malicious activity, the fact remains that most cryptocurrencies share properties that make them ideal to the present financial infrastructure. They can solve many of the world’s monetary issues and potentially ease the burden of global poverty.
Nevertheless, most regulators do not see this, and choose instead to focus primarily on what crypto can do to make the world a darker place. While it’s understandable that this should be considered, is enough emphasis being put on all the good that crypto can do?
As it stands, South Korea will now have to report all cryptocurrency transaction data to regulators, who will oversee the transactions and decide if they are permissible or if there is something suspicious going on. On the one hand, this has a positive side in the sense that crime – if cryptocurrency is ever going to be taken seriously – must come to a full halt, and this is one potential way to do it.
At the same time, the idea that people must now use their real names and in some cases, upload government-issued photo IDs to their accounts as part of the ongoing know your customer (KYC) tactics now employed by most cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses, really goes against what most forms of crypto are all about.
Most digital assets, especially bitcoin, were designed with the general public in mind. They were designed to give people their financial freedom back, and this included anonymity and the chance to use their money as they saw fit, so the idea that people’s names, photos and other sensitive information is being forwarded to financial legislators every time is a little unseemly.
Keeping Up Appearances
South Korea’s new identity verification system is being implemented by a cryptocurrency exchange known as Bit Thumb. To an extent, it makes sense that the region is being so adamant about knowing exactly who their customers are considering popular trading platform Up Bit – also stationed in South Korea – was recently robbed of nearly $50 million in ether funds.
In addition, the country accounts for roughly 20 percent of the world’s cryptocurrency transactions. With so much business at stake, it’s understandable that they want to heighten safety measures.
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