Listen, South Korean President Moon Jae-in wants you to know that he hasn’t decided whether or not to shutdown cryptocurrency exchanges yet. See that’s just “one of several” measures he’s considering. Or at least that’s what his office told Bloomberg via text message on Thursday.

But while Moon insists nothing is finalized, the writing has been on the wall for quite a while. As anyone who follows the cryptospace knows, South Korea is in many ways on the front lines both in terms of trading and in terms of regulatory pushback.

Last month, Bloomberg ran a piece called “A Bitcoin Frenzy Like No Other Is Gripping South Korea,” which detailed some of the reasons why Koreans seem so infatuated with digital currencies. Those reasons included:

  • Bitcoin’s stateless status appeals to some Koreans who’ve grown wary of keeping their savings in a country that shares a border with Kim Jong Un’s increasingly belligerent regime in North Korea
  • Political turmoil at home may also be adding to the cryptocurrency’s appeal. President Park Geun-hye was ousted in March after an influence-peddling scandal that involved the nation’s biggest companies
  • Korea’s individual investors have long had an affinity for supercharged financial wagers. Equity derivatives are wildly popular in the country, in part because they allow investors to make leveraged bets
  • Whatever the reason, authorities have become increasingly alarmed, with Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon recently going so far as to say that cryptocurrencies are corrupting the nation’s youth. Apparently, he’s concerned that young people hell-bent on making fast money are diving head first into what he’s somewhat derisively called “a raging market.”

    “If we let things continue, I feel some serious pathological phenomenons could occur [and] volumes on our cryptocurrency exchanges are more than that of the Kosdaq,” an online statement posted last month read.

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