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South Korean Justice Ministry prepares bill to ban cryptocurrency trading

South Korean Justice Ministry prepares bill to ban cryptocurrency trading

"The ministry is preparing legislation that basically bans any transactions based on a virtual currency through the trading floor", he told journalists.

For the ban to officially pass, a majority vote consisting of 297 National Assembly members would be required.

The government's tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The current price of Bitcoin at popular Korean exchange Bithumb is $18,301, down 7.13 percent in the last 24 hours, but still significantly higher than CoinMarketCap's current average price of $13,840.

According to CoinDesk, prices of Bitcoin slipped to $13,558.15 (at the time of publishing the article), down 8.95 percent from today's opening price of $14,890.72. Vidente and Omnitel, which are stakeholders of Bithumb, skidded by the daily trading limit of 30 percent each.

Not just this, but there are also reports that the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) is inspecting six South Korean banks including Woori Bank, Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, NongHyup Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea and Korea Development Bank, in a probe regarding bitcoin trading this week.

It remains to be seen whether this mass selloff is a direct result of raids in South Korea.

"A bill will be introduced after detailed discussion between related government agencies", he said.

Huge demand for bitcoin was triggered in late 2017, after the currency's value surged from around $1,000 per coin at the start of the year to nearly $20,000 by December, before falling to its current value of around $13,600. While investors and coinholders can get more money out of the virtual currency, it has brought increasing amounts of attention from authorities and regulators.

But after the more cautious statements from Cheong Wa Dae and the Justice Ministry in late afternoon, the bitcoin price returned to the 20 million won level.

Start your workday the right way with the news that matters most. It accounts for somewhere in the region of 6 percent to 12 percent of bitcoin trading, according to industry website CryptoCompare.

The announcement came amid a series of raids by South Korean authorities on the country's largest cryptocurrency exchanges, as the government continues turning the screw on virtual currencies.

Markets were in the red across the board during the Asian trading session this morning.

Bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrency is now experiencing a huge slumped as South Korea's ministry of justice reemphasized its proposed ban on crypto trading. That created confusion and triggered a broad selloff among investors. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Coinone was cooperating with the investigation.

"We were asked by the tax officials to disclose paperwork and things yesterday", an official at the firm told Reuters, requesting anonymity.

Meanwhile South Korean authorities are investigating six banks now offering virtual currency accounts that have possible links to money laundering.

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