Date
23 January 2018
South Korea, which is home to one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, is considering various measures to clamp down on the frenzy over the cryptocurrency. Photo: Reuters
South Korea, which is home to one of the world's largest bitcoin exchanges, is considering various measures to clamp down on the frenzy over the cryptocurrency. Photo: Reuters

Bitcoin drops US$1,000 as Seoul threatens to shut down exchanges

Bitcoin tumbled by over US$1,000 on Thursday after South Korea said it is considering various measures, including the shutdown of exchanges, to clamp down on the frenzy over the cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reports.

The South Korea Office for Government Policy Coordination said in a statement that it is banning the use of anonymous virtual accounts in cryptocurrency transactions by banks and crypto-exchanges, Yonhap news agency reported.

Also, the government will restrict cryptocurrency advertisements, and the justice ministry even suggested shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges, said Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination.

The government “can’t let this abnormal situation of speculation go on any longer”, Hong was quoted as saying.

Among the new measures, authorities will require real-name bank accounts and matching accounts at virtual currency exchanges for cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals.

Despite government warnings about the risks of investing or trading in cryptocurrencies, speculation has shown little signs of abating, raising concern that money is flowing into cryptocurrency markets from productive sectors, Hong said.

With the surge in interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there are now an estimated one million people who hold digital currencies in South Korea, which is home to one of the world’s largest bitcoin exchanges, Yonhap said.

Also, as of Thursday, many cryptocurrencies were trading in Seoul at about 30 percent premium over prevailing international rates, Bloomberg said.

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BN/CG

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