Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Chaos reigns as South Korea moves to ban cryptocurrency trading

South Korea Raids Cryptocurrency Exchanges, Plans to Ban Trading Bitcoin price latest: South Korea announces ban on cryptocurrency trading causing value to plummet
Kristine Garrett | 12 January, 2018, 03:47

Park said he could not disclose details but would jointly work with a government task force to shut down virtual currency exchanges in South Korea, which is one of the world's biggest markets for the likes of bitcoin and etherum.

South Korea's escalation in its position against cryptocurrencies comes after it announced tighter regulations for the trading of bitcoin in late-December. This is because many exchange sites do not allow any new accounts.

Justice minister Park Sang-Ki said: "There are great concerns regarding the virtual currencies and [the] justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges".

Huge demand for bitcoin was triggered in late 2017, after the currency's value surged from around $1,000 per coin at the start of the year to nearly $20,000 by December, before falling to its current value of around $13,600. These Korean exchanges have been notorious for having its crypto prices well above the global market average and the decision to remove them, was not a surprise to many.

The entire cryptocurrency market has suffered quite a bit this week but fortunately, things seem to be leveling off. The alleged reason is tax evasion, although there could be wider implications, such as a general desire to regulate and inhibit crypto trading from the government. That kind of jump would typically spook investors, but if that kind of volatility alarms you, then it's safe to say you haven't been paying too much attention to cryptocurrencies this year.

Most other virtual coins turned bearish.

Following the news, at 5 p.m. Thursday the bitcoin price in Korea had plunged 10.2 per cent from a day prior, according to the nation's largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb. That created confusion and triggered a broad selloff among investors. The Financial Times reports that Bithumb and Coinone have confirmed that officials from the National Tax Service have visited their offices and demanded information on their trading activities. The Coinone official added that the exchange has been under scrutiny since past year by local police who "think what we do is gambling".

South Korea's financial regulator revealed earlier this week it was jointly carrying out inspections on six local banks that offer virtual currency accounts to institutions amid concerns their increased use could lead to a surge in crime.

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