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Soldiers in South Korea will no longer be able to access online cryptocurrency trading websites whilst at military bases. A notification issued Monday by the Ministry of Defence outlined plans to crackdown on digital currency trading. They also began shutting down access to websites about Bitcoin and other virtual currencies at the same time. The notification read:
“According to internal rules, we will gradually shut down internet access to websites on encrypted currency starting Monday.”
The measure is in line with other prohibited material on military bases. This includes pornography and online gambling websites. The Korea Times report that a further crackdown on soldiers using cryptocurrency might be incoming. According to a ministry official:
“We are going to announce specific countermeasures for cryptocurrency transactions made in military units… The ministry is in internal talks to confirm whether it is against military regulations.”
The unnamed source reportedly continued to suggest that the tightening of regulations aimed to protect soldiers’ morale against the potential ill-effects of a market as volatile as cryptocurrency.
As of yet, it’s unclear what additional preventative measures the Ministry of Defence will take against those using cryptocurrrency. However, since Monday access to websites about cryptocurrency and exchange pages have been blocked at internet cafes on military bases.
An online notice posted Monday by the military also said:
“According to internal rules, we will gradually shut down internet access to websites on encrypted currency starting Monday… We urge soldiers to refrain from visiting digital token exchanges to avoid disappointment from our decision to block access to relevant sites.”
In addition to the Ministry of Defence getting tough on cryptocurrency, they have also announced that they will offer troops classes on financial education. This is because it is difficult to access such information whilst staying on a base. However, just how free from bias these classes are remains to be seen. It seems likely that any anti-cryptocurrency sentiment running through the government will trickle down to their soldiers’ education.
The news about the military crackdown on Bitcoin and other cryptos comes amid heightened regulatory fear from South Korea. The government there have been posturing about changing legislation regarding digital currencies. It’s unclear how they will go about this at present. Finance Minister Dong-yeon said on Monday that the government were considering whether to shut down domestic crypto exchanges. According to the government minister:
“The thing is the scope of reasonable regulation, but there is no global standard on it… We are coming up with comprehensive regulatory packages, including taxation or real-name-based trading on digital tokens.”