S Korea to ban anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading from 30 January

South Korea is set to ban anonymous bank accounts in cryptocurrency trading from 30 January, regulators said today.

The move is aimed at stopping the use of virtual coins for money laundering and other crimes.

According to commentators, the move comes even as South Korea steps up efforts to keep a leash on the growing craze for cryptocurrencies. Paying scant heed to warnings about the asset class, everyone from housewives to college students and office workers have rushed to trade in virtual currencies.

Meanwhile, the bitcoin price in South Korea slipped further today following the new regulatory announcement, down 3.34 per cent at $12,699 as of 0409 GMT, according to Bithumb, the country's second-largest virtual currency exchange.

Bitcoin fell nearly 20 per cent last week to a four-week low on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, amid worries over a possible ban on trading the virtual asset in South Korean exchanges. It was up it was up 5.4 per cent at $10,925 in afternoon trade today.

Meanwhile, policy makers around the world are calling for greater regulation of cryptocurrency trading. South Korea's chief financial regulator said last week, the government may consider shutting down domestic virtual currency exchanges.

Meanwhile, South Korea's presidential office has clarified that an outright ban on trading on the virtual currency exchanges is only one of the steps being considered, and not a measure that has been finalised.

Commentators point out that South Korea is believed to be the world's third-biggest market for trades in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, behind Japan and the US.

Also its importance in the world of digital currency means that decisions made in Seoul can result in large, sudden price swings.

The new policy, which had been discussed for some time, is set to kick in on 30 January.

People who hold anonymous anonymous cryptocurrency wallets will now need to link them to bank accounts in their own name, and have their identities confirmed.