- A South Korean civil servant sparked outrage in the country by selling his holdings in cryptocurrencies just days before a regulatory crackdown.
- The country’s government is now considering stricter codes of conduct for public sector workers.
- The unnamed man is thought to have made 7 million Korean won ($US6,550; £4,700).
South Korea is set to introduce stricter codes of conducts for civil servants after one official sparked outrage by selling his holdings in cryptocurrencies just days before the country’s financial regulator announced new laws governing the space.
According to the Yonhap news agency, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon told his cabinet on Tuesday to create a new code of conduct in the wake of the incident, which is said to have caused huge controversy in the country.
“People have expressed anger following revelations that an employee of the main department handling measures on virtual currency earned profits from virtual currency trading,” Lee is reported as saying.
“The reason people are upset and a relevant agency is investigating is because public servants have a special (moral) responsibility.”
Yonhap reports that the anger stems from the belief that “the official, who is supposed to act as a watchdog, took advantage of unannounced information affecting the market.”
The unnamed male civil servant, works for the Financial Supervisory Service, South Korea’s financial regulator. The man is said to have made a profit of as much as seven million Korean won ($US6,550; £4,700) by selling a stake in cryptocurrencies.
The stake was sold just two days before the FSS announced numerous measures designed to curb speculation on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, including the trading of bitcoin futures contracts.
South Korea has been struggling to control the speculative market for bitcoin in the country, which is believed to account for roughly 20% of all global bitcoin trading. It has introduced numerous measures to curb speculation and regulate the market, including saying on Tuesday it would ban the use of anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading.
The move is designed to prevent the currencies from being used for money laundering and other illegal activities.
It is also believed that South Korea could even ban crypto-trading altogether, with an unnamed government source telling Reuters on Tuesday that the “government is still discussing whether an outright ban is needed or not, internally.”
Bitcoin is down just over 1.5% to trade at around $US10,600:
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