South Korea Military Blocks Soldiers’ Access to Cryptocurrency Trading
Originally published on: CCN
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January 17, 2018
South Korea’s national defense ministry has begun blocking access to online cryptocurrency trading platforms in military bases.
As Korean financial officials ponder a wider clampdown on domestic cryptocurrency trading markets, the country’s military is already weighing up and enforcing its own measures to keep soldiers from trading cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, the Korea Times reports.
Since Monday, the Ministry of National Defense has been busy putting up firewalls to block soldiers’ access to cryptocurrency exchanges at internet cafes at various military bases.
In a notice, the ministry said:
“According to internal rules, we will gradually shut down internet access to websites on encrypted currency starting Monday.”
The cited ‘internal rules’ categorize cryptocurrency exchanges alongside online gambling and pornographic website which are also blocked under Korean military regulations. Further, the defense ministry is also working toward developing and introducing regulatory curbs against crypto trading, beyond blocking access to trading platforms.
“We are going to announce specific countermeasures for cryptocurrency transactions made in military units,” a South Korean ministry official reportedly added. “The ministry is in internal talks to confirm whether it is against military regulations.”
The developments come at a time of increased scrutiny into local cryptocurrency markets – among the largest in the world – by Korea’s government and regulators. Last week, the country’s justice ministry proposed a complete shuttering of all cryptocurrency exchanges in a draft law. The backlash was immediate and compelled the country’s Presidential Office to issue a statement cooling such fears. The Justice Ministry, having seen its proposal receive no support from other government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, eventually softened its stance.
Meanwhile, the military, which presumably operates under its own code of laws, told soldiers in a notice this week:
“We urge soldiers to refrain from visiting digital token exchanges to avoid disappointment from our decision to block access to relevant sites.”
DMZ image from Shutterstock.