South Korea has taken steps to limit cryptocurrency trading that go beyond measures adopted last year in China. First there was a hint of a complete ban on cryptocurrency trading in South Korea, but that now seems unlikely. Instead, there is a new tax on cryptocurrency exchanges and restrictions on customers and transactions. Under new rules, customers are not permitted to be anonymous or outside the country. Transactions cannot be cleared using credit cards. Separately, there have been enforcement actions against exchanges that failed to properly protect customer privacy, a requirement that goes across the entire financial sector. China may eventually adopt its own versions of some of the measures being taken in South Korea.
Halfway around the world, transaction processor Stripe says it will stop processing Bitcoin transactions. In a blog post, the company cites the high volatility of Bitcoin and the high cost of transactions. The long delays, typically around 19 hours, in validating transactions are a concern. In recent trading, the value of Bitcoin has has fluctuated more than 10 percent during the transaction-clearing window, and these fluctuations represent a considerable risk for anyone who accepts Bitcoin as payment for physical goods. Stripe compares Bitcoin transactions to wire transfers. Either mechanism costs about the same, but wire transfers typically clear in less than a second.