While recent reports suggested that the government was planning to ban anonymous cryptocurrency trading, the recent announcement from the Ministry of Justice sent the price of bitcoin tumbling to $12,800 levels today (Bitstamp).
Bitcoin prices plunged on Thursday by almost 14 per cent, after South Korea intensified its crackdown on virtual currencies and considers a ban on all cryptocurrency trading in the country, one of the world's largest bitcoin markets.
For the ban to officially pass, a majority vote consisting of 297 National Assembly members would be required.
The prospect of a ban on cryptocurrency trading by South Korea, among the largest venues for cryptocurrency trading, was playing on the minds of traders and investors this morning as the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies slid further.
With regulators already investigating South Korean banks and their KYC and anti-money laundering policies, the banks linked to the cryptomarkets, it's getting hot under the collar for the exchanges and the government is looking to just throw cold water of the country's insatiable appetite for the cryptos.
Park Nok-sun, a cryptocurrency analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said the herd behaviour in South Korea's virtual coin market has raised concerns.
Bitcoin dropped as much as 12% to $12,801, before paring the loss to about 5% at 9.10am NY time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Despite warnings from regulators of many countries, Bitcoin prices saw a big surge previous year.
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South Korea has been emerging as a focus for the bitcoin world, influencing global demand for digital currencies.
Bitcoin and other digital currencies lost about 10% of their value on Thursday, BBC reported.
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"We were asked by the tax officials to disclose paperwork and things yesterday", an official at the firm told Reuters, requesting anonymity.
The statement came after hundreds of apparent investors in virtual currency rushed to the website of Cheong Wa Dae, posting more than 1,000 petitions against a possible shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges.
The nation's tax office and police declined to confirm whether they raided the local exchanges.