Some 8% of virtual cryptocurrency trading accounts in South Korea have switched to real-name ones about a week after the local authorities introduced new measures designed to end anonymous digital currency trading, Yonhap News has reported, citing unnamed industry sources.
Last month the South Korean government set a January 30 deadline for banks to switch to a real-name trading system. The move was part of the government’s strategy to bolster anti-money laundering controls and curb cryptocurrency speculation. Under the new regime, South Korean traders can buy and sell cryptocurrencies with virtual bank accounts, but they are required to switch to real-name ones in order to make deposits and withdrawals.
At the moment, the conversion rate appears to be somewhat low. According to the Yonhap report, which was published earlier today, there are about 1.74 million cryptocurrency accounts at three South Korean banks - Industrial Bank of Korea, NH Bank and Shinhan Bank. The sources said that, as of Sunday, 143,300 virtual ledgers for cryptocurrency trading, or 8.2% of the total accounts, had been converted to real-name bank deposits.
According to the report, some industry observers have suggested that investors have been reluctant to switch to real-name bank accounts due to the ongoing sell-off that continues to weigh down cryptocurrency prices. Early reports of South Korea’s plans for tougher regulation contributed to the market slump, which has accelerated even further in recent weeks. Today the cryptocurrency market reached its lowest level in more than two months, as its total capitalisation dropped below $300 billion for the first time since late November.