Korea on Jan. 30 began a real-name trading system for cryptocurrencies, after weeks of a transitional ban on all new accounts as part of the government’s move to curb covert speculative investment in virtual coins.
Despite anticipation that aspiring investors would flock to open trading accounts on the first day, the number of bank customers remained in the average range.
Some of the operators saw a connection delay in their online system as a number of conventional investors sought to go through the real-name verification process.
“We were ready to face a rush of customers in the morning, but most of our operating branches were as calm as usual,” said an official of Shinhan Bank.
“Our employees are nevertheless fully equipped with a question-and-answer manual, in case cryptocurrency account inquiries suddenly increase in the near future.”
The Industrial Bank of Korea explained that the demand for new cryptocurrency accounts had already been reflected over the past weeks amid the government’s tightening grip over the highly profitable market.
Earlier this month, financial authorities placed a temporary ban on all new cryptocurrency accounts while banks established a real name-identification cross-verifying process for an estimated 3 million investors here.
In order to deposit investments, cryptocurrency purchasers are required to open a real-name account at the bank affiliated with the given exchange.
Currently, Upbit is banking with Industrial Bank of Korea, Bithumb with NH NongHyup Bank and Shinhan Bank, Coinone with NH NongHyup Bank, and Korbit with Shinhan Bank.
The prediction that the cryptocurrency market will rebound was also contradicted on the first day of the account opening.
According to operator Bithumb, the price of Bitcoin as of 3 p.m. stood at 12.6 million won (US$11,783), down 0.21 percent from the previous day. Other major virtual currencies mostly remained in the downturn, while Ethereum saw a slight uptrend.
By Bae Hyun-jung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org