Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

South Korea considers bitcoin ban as currency takes a huge tumble

South Korea considers bitcoin ban as currency takes a huge tumble

Both announcements, which came amid ongoing attempts by the United States and Germany to clamp down on money laundering and related crimes, exacerbated volatility in the cryptocurrency markets, sending bitcoin prices tumbling, Reuters reported.

London-based economists Vicky Redwood and Kerrie Walsh, of Capital Economics, said in a research note they believe the long-term future of bitcoin is bleak - even if the blockchain technology behind it is solid.

Other cryptocurrencies, including Ethereum and Ripple, have plunged, as well, as reports of South Korea and China potentially banning cryptocurrency trading sparked worries of a widespread regulatory crackdown.

In the short term, the cryptocurrency industry can simply up sticks and move elsewhere to a region with fewer restrictions, as happened in September.

South Korea accounts for about 15% of all bitcoin trading worldwide.

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There is a finite amount of Bitcoins - 21 million in total and more than 16.8 million of those are already in circulation, the Bitcoin News reported.

"Indeed, regulators are leaning towards forcing traders to disclose their identity".

According to the white paper written in 2008 by the creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, the limited supply is a feature created to deliberately induce scarcity in the cryptocurrency.

Another issue with cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoin, is that their creation through the mining process requires consumes lot of electric power and is time consuming.

Out of the virtual space, real world has many concerns regarding cryptocurrencies.

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Russian Federation is expected to announce regulations in July; president Vladimir Putin has decreed that legislation will be "definitely required in future".

Prices have plummeted since South Korea announced last week it may ban domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. It has also been reported that the eastern city of Vladivostok will be home to two cryptocurrency agencies, meant to oversee digital currencies.

Mark Stallard, a broker and principal at House and Holiday Home Mortgages, told the Daily Mail that one public sector worker who made £40,000 from investing in digital currencies was refused a mortgage as he was unable to prove where he obtained the money. The second most valuable crypto-coin, Ethereum, was down 20 percent while Ripple's XRP lost 26 percent of its value.

According to analytics firm WiseApp, the number of cryptocurrency app users in South Korea has increased 14-fold in the past three months to about two million users.

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