South Korea’s justice minister Park Sang-ki says the country is preparing a bill that will ban all cryptocurrency trading.
Late last year, South Korean officials announced a crackdown on cryptocurrency, the hottest “it thing” in get rich quick schemes to come along since everyone began investing in Beanie Babies in the 1990s. While very few of the plush friends ever actually reached the economic heights of non-objects like Bitcoin, the craze has been just as dynamic.
Following the announcements that South Korea would be tackling what they see as a deceitful premise, the price of cryptocurrency within the country has begun to plummet. This dramatic decrease in value isn’t only happening within that country, though. Where Bitcoin, for example, was worth about $20,000 apiece, the market value is now more like $12,000.
This kind of leverage over the entire market shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cryptocurrency is addictively popular in South Korea, placing the country as the third largest trading center in the world just for Bitcoin. An approximate two million people use or trade in the currency; part of the government’s move to rein in the pseudo goldrush is the finding that housewives and even children are working to get in on the game.
Of course, reports have surfaced recently that South Korea was introducing legislation to ban all forms of cryptocurrency, not only due to the potential for millions of people to lose all of their savings, but also due to the criminal connection tied to cryptocurrency. Banning Bitcoin, Monero, and other forms would make it an additional crime to use cryptocurrency to conduct ransomware activity, for example.
As a result of the action of the South Korean government, trading prices around the world have fallen. Coupled with a major multi-million-dollar hacking event of a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, some investors may have already suffered irrecoverable damages.
But there’s good news for those who’ve been trading on one of a dozen South Korean exchanges: more than 200,000 signatures have been added to a petition to ask the country’s government to halt the ban on cryptocurrency and allow the easy money to continue to flow.