Theresa May "very seriously" considering taking action against digital currencies
Theresa May says she will look at bitcoin and other digital currencies “very seriously”.
The Prime Minister is considering taking action against them, because she’s concerned about their popularity amongst criminals.
South Korea this week announced new bitcoin regulations that will affect traders, and Ms May has hinted that she might take similar action in the future.
“In areas like cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, we should be looking at these very seriously,” she told Bloomberg.
The Prime Minister said that action against cryptocurrencies may be required “precisely because of the way they are used, particularly by criminals”.
“I think it’s something that we do need to look at,” she added.
It isn’t clear what sort of action is under consideration, but it’s possible that the UK government will take a similar stance to the South Korean government.
From 30 January, everyone trading digital currencies in South Korea will have do so using their real names.
The measure, which will help authorities trace digital currency transactions, is designed to prevent bitcoin being used for criminal activities.
South Korea will also prevent people younger than 19-years-old from buying or selling bitcoin and other digital currencies.
Once the new system is in place, existing accounts that have already been used for cryptocurrency trading will no longer be valid.
Prior to this week’s announcement, prominent figures had suggested that South Korea was open to banning bitcoin trading altogether.
A recently released report claims that half of all bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity.
According to the researchers behind it, the sheer popularity of the cryptocurrency amongst criminals – who tend to use bitcoin because it allows users to conceal their identities – is a major contributor to its value, which could fall if they turn their backs on it and start embracing more privacy-focused digital currencies instead.