Saturday, 20 January, 2018

South Korea is Poised to Ban Crypto Trading; Crypto Community Claims FUD

Bitcoin Seoul South Korean Cryptocurrency Mania: Exchanges are Adding More Employees Than Banks
Pete Mitchell | 12 January, 2018, 03:36

"The ministry is preparing legislation that basically bans any transactions based on a virtual currency through the trading floor", Justice Minister Park Sang-ki told a press briefing. There is a still a process to go through, which entails drafting a bill and getting a majority vote from the 297 members of the National Assembly.

South Korea's justice minister said on Thursday that a bill is being prepared to ban all cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Reports are emerging of nation-wide police inspections on crypto exchanges in the Southeast Asian nation. Bitcoin, for example, traded at US$17,028 and US$16,975.01, respectively, on Coinone and Bithumb, representing a premium of 27 per cent to the CoinDesk price index.

The news likely caused a price correction of most major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, which is down 2.27 percent in the last 24 hours, and Ethereum, which is down 9.77 percent according to CoinMarketCap.

The dramatic market reaction led to the country's Presidential office to put out a statement saying that the ban on cryptocurrency trading had not been finalised and was still only being considered as a possible option. With the turning of the year, the fever has decisively cooled, with China banning trading in the currency and now South Korea following suit.

While the specific details of the law aren't known at this time, it's believed that the new law will allow the South Korean government to shut down crypto exchanges.

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There are really two separate markets for cryptocurrencies - South Korea and everywhere else.

On Wednesday, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that he would never invest in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies and predicted the wildly popular assets are in for a fall. Ripple trimmed its 21% tumble to a 14% drop, while ethereum slumped 5%.

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. "Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more [investors] jumping in, not out", Mr Park said. At the time of press, Bitcoin was trading for around $13,350, down from the valuation of roughly $15,000 preceding the revelation of the proposed bans.

"We were asked by tax officials to disclose paperwork and things yesterday", an official at Bithumb told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

However, the impact will be felt by South Korean local exchanges, a few of which are being investigated by authorities according to Bloomberg.

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