Bitcoin plummets as South Korea confirms cryptocurrency crackdown

Bitcoin price latest: South Korea announces ban on cryptocurrency trading causing value to plummet

Bitcoin price latest: South Korea announces ban on cryptocurrency trading causing value to plummet

"We've seen South Korea get more nervous about the amount of speculation but this "nuclear option" was a little surprising, particularly as there were reports this week that South Korea was seeking to work with Japan and China on crypto trading rules".

Justice Minister Park Sang-ki on Thursday announced at a New Year's press conference that the government is preparing a special bill on banning transactions of cryptocurrency through exchanges.

South Korea's police and tax authorities have launched a number of raids on cryptocurrency exchanges, claiming that they are being used for money laundering and tax evasion.

After the market's sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation's Presidential office hours later said a ban on the country's virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalised while it was one of the measures being considered.

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The Indian finance ministry recently cautioned investors about the risks of trading in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, saying digital currency investments are like "Ponzi schemes".

Choi promised that light would be shed on the unknown interior workings of the cryptocurrency exchange machine, and that all aspects, from whether the exchanges are actually holding coins to possibility of fabrication and market value manipulation will come under the microscope to satisfy regulators' suspicions.

Ripple's currency XRP fell more than 30 per cent on the day, after hitting an all-time peak of around $3.84.

Still, some cryptocurrency enthusiasts saw the move as a positive sign for the market.

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Regulators are taking a keener interest in the cryptocurrency world.

South Korea has been a hot market for cryptocurrencies. For example, bitcoin traded at $17,169.65 per token at local exchange Bithumb, which was a 31 percent premium to the CoinDesk average price.

"For the last few months the Korean government has been making it very clear they want to bring this speculative activity under control", said Thomas Glucksmann, Hong Kong-based head of APAC business development with cryptocurrency exchange Gatecoin Ltd.

Analysts said bitcoin was also undermined by news earlier in the session that South Korean financial authorities were inspecting six local banks that offer virtual currency accounts to institutions. While this news isn't good for investors of virtual currencies, it also doesn't mean that a ban is a sure thing.

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