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在线翻译:
szdaily -> World Economy -> 
South Korea may tax cryptocurrency trading
    2017-12-14  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

SOUTH KOREA said yesterday it may tax capital gains from cryptocurrency trading as global regulators worry about a bubble, with Australia’s central bank chief warning of a “speculative mania” that has seen the digital asset making rip-roaring gains.

As bitcoin futures made their world debut on a U.S. stock exchange this week, policymakers have been forced to contend with cryptocurrencies becoming more of a mainstream play and the need to regulate them.

The world’s biggest and best known cryptocurrency, bitcoin, surged past US$17,000 to new all-time highs this week, marking an almost dizzying 20-fold rise this year and feeding fears of a bubble.

Philip Lowe, Australia’s central bank governor, yesterday warned the fascination with the assets felt like a “speculative mania.”

The comments come days after his New Zealand counterpart said bitcoin appeared to be a “classic case” of a bubble, and cast doubt on its future. The chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday warned trading and public offerings in the emerging asset class may be in violation of federal securities law.

Digital currencies are very popular across Asia, with many retail investors giving up their daily jobs to trade them full time in countries such as Japan and South Korea, which together make up for more than half the global trading volumes by some estimates.

But the possibility of major losses if the bubble bursts and wild gyrations of 10-30 percent in a single day have instilled a sense of urgency among policymakers to come up with a regulatory response.

In Seoul, after an emergency meeting yesterday, South Korea’s government said it will consider taxing capital gains from trading of virtual coins and will also ban minors from opening accounts on exchanges, according to a statement seen ahead of its official release.

To be eligible, exchanges in South Korea will need to uphold investor protection rules and disclose all bid and offer quotes.

The measures need parliamentary approval. South Korea’s government will maintain a current ban on all financial institutions dealing virtual currencies.

“The regulations in South Korea will not have a negative effect,” said Thomas Glucksmann, head of marketing at Hong Kong-based exchange Gatecoin, adding that on the contrary, “licensing brings certainty, which encourages already regulated entities ... to get involved in addition to sceptical retail investors.”

In an interview Tuesday, the Seoul-based operator of the world’s busiest virtual currency exchange Bithumb said it will fully comply with potential regulations from the South Korean government and adequately capitalize itself to protect its clients.

Elsewhere in Asia, China in September ordered Beijing-based cryptocurrency exchanges to stop trading and immediately notify users of their closure, in a move aimed at limiting risks in the speculative market. Economists and cryptocurrency advocates say the move was also intended to close an avenue used to evade China’s capital controls.

Japan requires cryptocurrency operators to register with the government. Japan in April granted cryptocurrencies legal status as a means of settlement and in September officially recognized 11 digital currencies exchanges. (SD-Agencies)

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