South Korean Prime Minister issues warning over Bitcoin mania 南韓總理︰炒風釀社會病態

Tue, Dec 05, 2017 - Page 14

Bitcoin has its origins in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, when the blockchain technology was developed. Due to the unique qualities of the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin — decentralization, anonymity, virtual untraceability and independence from the existing currency system — it has been used to sell illegal drugs and as a tool to launder money by criminal organizations. However, in recent years Bitcoin has taken over from gold and other commodities as a new target of speculative hype for retail investors in China, Japan and South Korea. On Tuesday last week, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon issued a warning, saying he fears young people and students are at risk from the speculative mania surrounding cryptocurrencies, while some have become embroiled in pyramid schemes and narcotics criminality which Lee believes is turning into a serious social problem.

Bitcoin has surged in value since the beginning of this year, undergoing violent price swings along the way. A dispute between opposing factions of the Bitcoin community has also caught the attention of investors. The ongoing optimism toward Bitcoin in both Japan and South Korea has attracted a frenzied rush of investment from Chinese “aunties,” Japanese housewives and South Korean youngsters. Currently, South Korea’s Bithumb exchange handles the highest number of cryptocurrency transactions of any trading platform in the world.

During a cabinet meeting last Tuesday, Lee warned that domestic transaction volumes in cryptocurrencies have already surpassed those of the KOSDAQ index of South Korean small and medium-sized businesses and said: “If we allow this situation to continue, I believe there may be serious consequences.” Lee believes youngsters and students have embraced cryptocurrencies in search of quick profits and this has caused some to become drawn into committing fraud.

(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY EDWARD JONES)

比特幣源於二○○八年金融海嘯後區塊鏈技術發展,具備去中心化、匿名難追蹤、獨立於現行貨幣體系之外支付等特性,也被販毒、犯罪組織當作洗錢工具,近年來還取代黃金等商品,成為從中國、日本到南韓散戶投資人的新興炒作標的。南韓總理李洛淵上週二警告,青少年和學生恐受加密貨幣投機風潮危害、捲入老鼠會和毒品犯罪,成為社會病態的現象。

比特幣今年初以來瘋漲且大起大落,比特幣不同派別的爭論也引發矚目。日韓對比特幣發展持樂觀態度,也吸引了中國大媽、日本渡邊太太、南韓年輕人等散戶瘋狂投入,目前南韓Bithumb交易所是世界加密貨幣交易量最大的平台。

李洛淵上週二在內閣會議上警告,南韓加密貨幣交易量甚至已超過中小型股的Kosdaq指數,「如果我們讓事情繼續下去,我覺得一些嚴重的病態現象可能發生」;他認為南韓青年人和學生擁抱加密貨幣,尋求快速獲利,造成一些人捲入詐欺犯罪。

(自由時報)