Bitcoin Plunges as South Korea Crafts Cryptocurrency Crackdown

Cryptocurrencies Fall As South Korea Moves To Ban Crypto Trading

This clampdown could possibly be the reason why Bitcoin dropped 10 percent to $12,986.41 at 12:36 pm Hong Kong time, extending its decline from last month's high to more than 30 percent, according to exchanges.

The decision comes after several government measures, including real-name transactions, have had little impact in cooling the overheated virtual money market here, the world's third-largest in terms of trading volume.

The prices of major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ripple and ethereum fell sharply on Thursday following reports that South Korea may be preparing to ban all virtual currency trading in the country.

Park cited "great concerns" about virtual currencies.

Leading cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea have also been raided by local tax authorities. 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.

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The mania in South Korea is at a different level. Recently, the most popular website, has also eliminated the South Korean exchange, due to the tremendous divergence in cryptocurrency prices, compared to other parts of the world along with the limited arbitrage opportunity.

China too has already banned bitcoin trading and initial coin offerings since September and is now clamping down on relevant mining activity. The country's prime minister has said that cryptocurrencies might corrupt the nation's youth, while the government warned in December that it would be conducting on-site investigations of exchanges. Investors must be wishing the plans to ban cryptocurrency in South Korea should never come to fruition. An official at South Korean exchange Coinone said that in addition to the raids, "local police also have been investigating our company since past year".

Corrections are again playing on the much-talked-about cryptocurrency market.

The financial authorities in the country had said previously that they were inspecting six local banks that offer virtual currency accounts to institutions over fears that increased use of these assets could lead to a surge in crime. The proliferation of the virtual currency and the accompanying trading frenzy have raised eyebrows among regulators globally, though many central banks have refrained from supervising cryptocurrencies themselves.

"In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with nearly certainty that they will come to a bad ending", told financial TV channel CNBC, but added: "When it happens or how or anything else, I don't know".

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