Cryptocurrencies have been threatened at one point or another by nearly every country on the planet. Rarely does a government venture beyond rhetoric. Those resorting to crackdowns are often met with greater public appetite for decentralized virtual money, making all that initial fuss an exercise in futility. Be they communist strongholds or liberal democracies, bitcoin cannot be stopped.
Government Threats Met with Pushback
In response to a recent Republic of Korea (ROK) bureaucrat's statement, causing mainstream media to roar about a "ban" on bitcoin, the South Korean street riled to virtual barricades. Citizens flooded petition signatures to the President. Social media contained oceans of angry comments demanding the offending minister's sacking. The pressure grew so intense, agencies within the same government began contradicting one another, ending with an official presidential announcement no "ban" was forthcoming. Sensing a political market opening, normally reticent ROK politicians jumped on the bandwagon to defend cryptocurrency legitimacy.
The above is something like a rare historical scientific control with regard to just why bitcoin and cryptocurrencies cannot be banned. For our purposes, ROK's geographical juxtaposition and its post-war politics fit comfortably beside its northern neighbor, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), North Korea. The two nations share a peninsula, a people, and a history, ripe for an organic experiment in prohibition.
South Korea's citizens increasingly voice dissatisfaction
Cryptocurrency probably made its way to DPRK through its wealthier brethren, and perhaps even China in bitcoin's early years. Obviously, DPRK has a "ban" on bitcoin, de facto. Yet cryptocurrencies are still an issue for the country, something it must address, a problem some reports have as the regime tacitly embracing, and likely as a way around sanctions. Arguably the most closed country in the world is being confronted by a new monetary reality, which illustrates bitcoin's inherent power under the most extreme of circumstances.