The South Korean government reiterated that it disapproves of the frenzied trade in virtual currency and warned that it is not bluffing about seeking a special law to prohibit online betting and exchanges in cryptocurrencies.
“The Justice Ministry from the beginning has been clear about its stance against cryptocurrency. We have repeatedly warned against the dangers in the trade, but it does not seem our message is getting through,” said Park Sang-ki, justice minister in a press conference on Thursday.
“Regardless of the underlying blockchain technology that is essential in the age of big data and digitalization, the government believes cryptocurrency trade is highly dangerous and warns that the bubble can burst at any moment,” he said.
The Justice Ministry, which has been in charge of government measures on cryptocurrency instead of the Financial Services Commission to indicate Korean authorities will address virtual currency more as gambling than a novel financial instrument and activity, is putting together a special act to ban cryptocurrencies. “There is no difference in views among government offices,” he said.
Korean cryptocurrency market is home to the world’s largest trade in the virtual money and remains unfazed by the slew of government measures to cool the market. Over 2 million people are involved in the cryptocurrency with daily trade nearing $6 billion.
Following the justice minister’s comment, local price of bitcoin plunged 18 percent in midday trade to 18,388,000 won ($17,153) and Eithereum 24 percent to 1,673,000 won on the Bithumb, the largest exchange in Seoul on Thursday, while the two averaged at $13,645 and $1,217, respectively, on CoinmarketCap, one of the world’s largest exchanges.
By Lee Hyun-jung and Cho Jeehyun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]