The South Korean government has become the latest country to try and control the crypto currency. South Korea, third biggest markets in the world for bitcoin, said it was preparing a ban on opening anonymous cryptocurrency accounts and new legislation to enable regulators to close coin exchanges if they felt there was a need to do so.
As a result, the value of bitcoin fell more than 8% to $13,500 today.
This move comes less than two weeks after high-profile digital currency exchange in Seoul (Youbit) was hacked and went bankrupt. The exchange, called Youbit, shut down after losing 17% of its assets in a cyber-attack. The incident followed several other attacks against cryptocurrency platforms, such as a hack earlier in the month against the cryto-mining marketplace NiceHash, which lost around 4,700 bitcoins in the attack.
South Korea is following in the footsteps of China and Vietnam; two countries which have already imposed measures to try and control Bitcoin. Last month, Vietnam introduced a ban on bitcoin and other virtual cryptocurrencies, echoing a similar move made by China in October. The country’s state bank issued a formal statement prohibiting the use of virtual currencies to pay for goods and services. The punishment for offering and accepting payments in bitcoin can run to over £6,000.
Koreans prefer to use bitcoin exchanges in their home country rather than the US because they need to open a bank account in the US to buy the currency in that market — a cumbersome requirement. South Korean traders are paying about 30 % over international rates for bitcoin, reflecting the popularity of the asset in the country and the difficulty in arbitraging among markets.
South Korea in September banned initial coin offerings, a popular mechanism for companies to raise cash through the issue of digital tokens. The country’s financial watchdog has also banned the trade of bitcoin futures.
On other hand, the Government of Belarus has officially acknowledged bitcoin as a legal currency and has legalized initial coin offerings (ICOs), smart contracts, and blockchain development. Read news in detail.