Bitcoin falls after threat of ban from South Korea

12 January, 2018, 03:35 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Bitcoin Cash

On Thursday, South Korea's government stated that it intends to ban cryptocurrency trading, which resulted in chaos in the virtual coin market sending the price of bitcoin into the ground, as the nation's police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion. "We have grave concerns about (the craze over) virtual currency and (a shutdown) would be one of the goals we are aiming for". Closing the exchanges in such a critical market deals a blow to the prices of cryptocurrencies and to the development of the blockchain technology, which needs investment. Crimes involving cyber money, such as multi-level marketing fraud using virtual currencies, have also been on the rise.

"Cryptocurrency trade in Korea is similar to speculation and gambling", he said, "(Cryptocurrency) does not have a physical denomination. "Trading at exchanges poses extremely high risks considering its huge volume and frequency", Justice Minister Park Sang-ki told reporters. The economic impact of any country or government abruptly shutting down its stock market would be in the billions. Many of those coins began to pare losses later in the morning. "If we ban virtual currency exchanges altogether as the Financial Services Commission recommends, we are likely to end up in a situation where nobody takes the responsibility." said Jin-hwa via Khan. "I'm concerned about the bubble burst that would deal a heavy blow to individual investors". A few hours after the officials' announcement of a planned ban, the South Korean presidential office clarified later that the ban had not been finalized yet. In its statement from December, the government hinted at the idea of an outright ban of cryptocurrency exchanges.

The minister's comments to reporters on Thursday were later downplayed by a spokesman for President Moon Jae-in, who said the proposal is one among several and that nothing has been finalised.

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"Local police also have been investigating our company since previous year, they think what we do is gambling", a Coinone employee told Reuters. The exchanges that were removed from the price calculation included Bithumb, Korbit and Coinone.

The country's government is looking to clamp down on cryptocurrencies following a boom in initial coin offerings (ICOs) and trading of cryptocurrencies in the country.

The value of bitcoin has dropped 13.5 per cent following news that South Korea may ban trading of all cryptocurrencies.

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A report earlier this week that the Chinese government is considering further action to stamp out cryptocurrency mining has also pressured prices. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

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