South Korea bans its banks from dealing in Bitcoin; taxmen survey 9 Bitcoin exchanges across India

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Published: December 13, 2017 5:54:19 PM

In wake of bubble fuelled by retail spectators, South Korea on Wednesday banned its financial institutions from trading in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, reports AFP

South Korea accounts for some 20% of global Bitcoin transactions.

In wake of bubble fuelled by retail spectators, South Korea on Wednesday banned its financial institutions from trading in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, reports AFP. The country accounts for some 20% of global Bitcoin transactions – about 10 times its share of the world economy. Meanwhile in India, the Income Tax Department today conducted survey operations at the nine major Bitcoin exchanges. About one million South Koreans, many of them small-time investors, are estimated to own Bitcoins, and demand is so high that prices for the unit are around 20% higher than in the US, its biggest market. The Prime Minister’s Office said Seoul would ban financial institutions from dealing in virtual currencies – including buying, possessing, or holding them as collateral. Prices on Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, fell nearly five percent after the announcement, reports AFP. Prices on Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest Bitcoin exchange, fell nearly five percent after the announcement.

I-T survey of 9 Indian Bitcoin exchanges

The various teams of the sleuths of the department, under the command of the Bengaluru investigation wing, today visited the premises of nine such exchanges in the country including in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, and Gurugram, since early morning, cited PTI quoting official sources. The survey, under section 133A of the Income Tax Act, is being conducted for “gathering evidence for establishing the identity of investors and traders, transaction undertaken by them, identity of counterparties, related bank accounts used, among others,” they said. The survey teams, sources said, are armed with various financial data and inputs about the working of these exchanges and this is the first big action against them in the country. Even the Reserve Bank of India is not much enthused by the idea of the virtual currencies. Cautioning users, holders and traders of VCs on last Tuesday, the third time since February 2013, India’s central banking institution came out with another warning letter making them aware about the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security related risks associated in dealing with such VCs.

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