A petition demanding the government to stop regulating cryptocurrencies garnered more than 200,000 signatures by Tuesday (Jan. 16) after being filed to South Korea’s presidential office two weeks ago. That would force the government to give an official response, which could lead to (paywall) the opening of an investigation.
“Korean people can dream a happy dream that we’ve never been able to in South Korea, thanks to cryptocurrencies. I might be able to buy a house in a country where it’s very hard to buy a house. I might be able to live a life doing something I want to do. I might be able to take a breath,” which was posted online by an anonymous person on Dec. 28.
“Please don’t take away our happiness and dreams that we could have for the first time living in South Korea.”
“However, I wish that the economy will not decline due to unjustifiable regulations in the present situation,” the Google translation of the petition said.
Unemployment among South Korean youth, or those ages 15 to 29, is around 9 percent, nearly three times the national average, according to Statistics Korea. Young people are generally more interested in buying and selling digital currencies than their elders.
In the last several months, South Korea has accounted for a significant portion of trading volume in digital currencies such as bitcoin, ethereum and ripple. Earlier this month, ripple prices appeared to plunge in U.S. dollar terms after CoinMarketCap said it was excluding price information from some Korean exchanges due to “extreme divergences in price from the rest of the world.”
South Korean regulators have become increasingly vocal in the last few weeks on trying to limit speculation in digital currencies.
Bitcoin briefly fell more than 17 percent to a six-week low after South Korea Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said that shutting down digital currency exchanges is still an option for the government, according to an English-language report Tuesday from South Korea’s Yonhap News.
However, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said in a separate Tuesday report from Yonhap that shutting down the digital currency exchanges would require approval from the National Assembly.