Cryptocurrency miners in South Korea may soon find it more difficult to get foreign-made mining chips imported to the country.
According to data published by the Korean Customs Service (KCS) on Wednesday, cryptocurrency mining chips have been added to the current list of items that must meet certain legal requirement for importation, such as safety and sanitation certifications.
The new measure arrives after the border control agency noted the increasing amount of cryptocurrency miners imported into South Korea, according to a report from local media outlet Kyunghyang yesterday.
For example, in November and December 2017 alone, the KCS noted imports of 454 mining chips at an estimated value of 1.3 billion Korean won ($1.2 million), the report said.
Due to their significant electricity consumption and associated heating byproduct, the use of miners raises concerns at the agency over whether they bring a high possibility of fire incidents.
As a result, the report said the agency will look at the safety issues around imported cryptocurrency miners based on the existing radio legislation, as well as the safety requirements for electronic goods put out by the National Radio Research Agency – a government body that sets standards for related regulations.
The increased technical scrutiny comes at a time when public and private sectors in South Korea have moved to halt allegedly illegal mining activities, especially in public spaces due to concerns over high electricity consumption and fire risk.
As reported by CoinDesk, earlier this month Korean police busted 14 people from 13 companies who had allegedly used cheap electricity provided at industrial factories to mine cryptocurrencies.
And, in August of last year, an electronics retail marketplace in Seoul also banned its stores from mining cryptocurrencies inside the building due to fire concerns.