South Korea (SK) has historically been a big player in crypto markets, estimated as the "third-biggest market in the world for Bitcoin trades, behind Japan and the US", according to this article.
However, SK's government has placed a lot of regulatory pressure on its crypto-crazed citizens in recent months, starting in late January this year (2018) with the requirement that trade of cryptocurrencies on SK exchanges be limited to real-name bank accounts. Many rumors of an outright SK ban of crypto trading started spreading over the internet as early as December of 2017 and lingered on until January 30 of the next year, when its Finance Minister, Kim Dong-yeon, made an official statement that no such action would be taken. Whether his words were enough to completely quell the fear of trading or holding cryptos in SK exchanges is still doubtful.
Fast forward a little less than 5 months to June 20, 2018:
$32 million in crypto assets were reportedly hacked on the world's 7th largest crypto exchange (by volume) at the time, Bithumb. This, only a week after another SK exchange, Coincheck, reported an undisclosed amount of bitcoin having been stolen by hackers. Bithumb disabled all deposits and withdrawals in response to the hack and this "freeze" of money transfers lasted roughly a month.
But that's not all...
Still in effect from that event, Bithumb's banking partner, Nonghyup Bank, froze withdrawals to the crypto exchange and Bithumb closed all attempts at registration to their platform...
...that is, until yesterday (August 29, 2018).
Yes, Bithumb is now accepting new users, more than two months after it experienced that hack. This decision is likely due to the news that Nonghyup Bank would resume its partnership, which, uncoincidentally, comes right after the SK government officially approved Bithumb, along with a few other exchanges (UPbit and Korbit among them), of meeting their standards for security.
Also uncoincidentally, in the recent days Bithumb has climbed from 19th, less than a week ago, to today's 5th highest volume exchange on Coinmarketcap, from $60 million to over $350 million daily average - a nearly 6 times increase!
As one news article states,
The resumption of Bithumb registration will lead to an influx of capital in the crypto exchange market of South Korea, especially in the mid-term, as new investors that have previously been unable to trade will now be able to access Bithumb and its liquidity.
And, to end this on the most positive note possible...
...this from the same article...
The federal government has also reaffirmed its intent to facilitate the growth of the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector in the long run, as a part of its larger initiative to bolster the fourth industrial revolution.
Fourth industrial revolution, you say? Count me in!