Markets were in the red across the board during the Asian trading session this morning.
The news sent a shock wave to cryptocurrency market with prices of major cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, ripple and ethereum took a hit following the news that South Korea could be preparing to ban trading in digital currencies. Then South Korea's justice minister announced on Thursday (late Wednesday in the U.S.) that they are preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading.
For the ban to officially pass, a majority vote consisting of 297 National Assembly members would be required. Such is the volatility of cryptocurrency, and especially Bitcoin, the most popular digital coin out there.
Until now, authorities have largely stopped short of direct intervention, but increasing fears about scams, money laundering and hacks linked to cryptocurrencies, could attract further attention and mean more crackdowns in future.
According to reports, South Korean officials were also targeting banks that offer cryptocurrency accounts, citing a rise in crime as their reasoning.
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News of a pending ban of cryptocurrency trading in South Korea swiftly drew shockwaves across the market, with Bitcoin sliding as much as 14 percent and tumbling down below $13,000 immediately after Park's announcement. Investors must be wishing the plans to ban cryptocurrency in South Korea should never come to fruition.
Many saw this ban proposal coming with the South Korean Financial Services Commission prohibiting exchanges from issuing new accounts last month. The Telegraph is reporting that the local price of Bitocin collapsed by 21% in midday trading. As the world's third largest digital currency, high demand has seen South Korean traders paying premiums of more than 40% over global rates for Bitcoin. On Monday, CoinMarketCap removed South Korean exchanges from its listings due to "the extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world and limited arbitrage opportunity". China moved to shut down exchanges within its borders and crack down on crypto-mining companies, while Vietnam implemented a total ban on crypto-based payments.
The Justice Ministry said that a bill was forthcoming. "In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say nearly with certainty that they will come to a bad ending", Buffett said on CNBC, noting that he didn't understand Bitcoin and other blockchain-based digital assets.