Cryptocurrency prices tend to be much higher on South Korean exchanges because of huge demand and monetary restrictions in that country, analystssaid.
"There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the Justice Ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges", Park told local press on January 10. Reuters states in the earlier article: "Legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years".
'South Korea has always had a premium because it's very hard to get cash out of the country, ' said Dwyer.
However, after the Justice Ministry spoke of an impending ban (and, indeed, after the worldwide market took a huge coinciding dip), local reports from South Korea's Ministry of Strategy and Finance (MOSF, a key member of the crypto task force) said that the MOSF does not agree with the "premature statement of the Ministry of Justice about a potential cryptocurrency trading ban".
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While news that S. Korea is working toward a possible ban sent bitcoin prices down $2,000 in the country on Thursday, it's still a ways off.
In the meantime, the global price of Ethereum dropped 1.6 percent at a similar time, drawing a stark contrast with the 6.1 percent price increase in South Korea, according to Bithumb's analysis based on data from website CoinMarketCap.
Earlier today, Choi Jong-ku, the chairman of the Financial Service Commission, held an emergency briefing to clarify the government's stance on cryptocurrency, during which he said a joint investigation with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit was launched into six banks where cryptocurrency has been exchanged. While this news isn't good for investors of virtual currencies, it also doesn't mean that a ban is a sure thing.
Two weeks later, it announced a ban on opening anonymous cryptocurrency accounts and a crackdown on money laundering activities using them.
Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap saw its price drop by 5%.
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