Bubble Trouble: South Korea Considers Ban on All Cryptocurrency Exchanges

18 January, 2018, 14:29 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • Bubble Trouble: South Korea Considers Ban on All Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Ethereum, the second-largest digital currency by market cap, fell by more than 20% on January 16th, while ripple is hovering in the low $1.20s.

South Korea's top financial regulator said Thursday the government is considering shutting down all cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin is down from record highs approaching $20,000 in the week before Christmas, having rocketed 25-fold past year, before being hit by concerns about a bubble and worries about crackdowns on trading it.

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Regulators around the world are still debating how to address risks posed by cryptocurrencies, as bitcoin, the world's most popular virtual currency, soared more than 1,700 percent previous year.

Korea is home to one of the world's biggest private bitcoin exchanges, with more than 2 million people estimated to own some of the best-known digital currency.

The cryptocurrency market is volatile, and while Bitcoin's value fell by around 30% this week, the dip is a relatively minor occurrence compared to its long-term trend.

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"Cryptocurrencies could be capped in the current quarter ahead of the G20 meeting in March, where policymakers could discuss tighter regulations", said Shuhei Fujise, chief analyst at Alt Design.

Both announcements, which came amid ongoing attempts by the USA and Germany to clamp down on money laundering and related crimes, exacerbated volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, sending bitcoin prices tumbling, Reuters reported. There's fears that the country could block such trading altogether after finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said banning crypto trading was "a live option".

Separately, a senior Chinese central banker said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services. By 1400 GMT it has edged up to $11,650, but that was still down more than 14 percent, leaving it on track for its biggest one-day fall since September. "We expect the volatility to continue throughout 2018 but fundamentally believe that bitcoin is still in a bull market", said Christopher Keshian, co-founder of $APEX Token Fund. At the low point of trading, many cryptocurrencies had lost half their value. It was still down 1 percent in the last 24 hours.

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"The run-up in bitcoin created a mystique of one-way trading which is being shaken, but the pricing requires faith that there will always be demand", Englander wrote in a research note.

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