The folks at D.A.R.E. might have a new epidemic on their hands. At least, that's the way it looks to South Korea's Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, who expressed concerns on Tuesday about youngsters looking to get rich quick through virtual currency.
"There are cases in which young Koreans including students are jumping in to make quick money and virtual currencies are used in illegal activities like drug dealing or multi-level marketing for frauds," wrote Lee in a statement that was released following a cabinet meeting.
"This can lead to serious distortion or social pathological phenomena, if left unaddressed," he added. Lee called on the Ministry of Justice to examine the matter.
South Korean exchanges – among them Bithumb, Korbit, and Coinone – have led the most recent surge in bitcoin's price. At present, the trading pair BTC/KRW swaps at approximately $10,920 according to CoinMarketCap.
Even with the dramatic jump in bitcoin's price, suggesting that cryptocurrency leads kids down a path to criminality seems far-fetched at best and excessively paternalistic at worst. While cryptocurrency has notably been used for transactions on the Dark Web, major marketplaces like Silk Road and AlphaBay have recently been taken down by authorities.
Ultimately, you can't get stoned off a bitcoin, or even all the cannabis-industry tokens in the world. The highs and lows of virtual currency are mostly constrained to the emotions you feel watching roller coaster-like price charts. But, the money to be made (or lost) is through trading or investing in cryptocurrency, not setting up shop as a drug-dealing schoolkid.
The more intriguing discussion about drugs and blockchain technology relates to supply chains and provenance. Tracking prescription drugs is a real use case that could help protect patients by improving counterfeit detection or helping to prevent prescription fraud.