Bitcoin price plummeted to a 2018-low on Thursday after South Korea’s justice minister reportedly proposed a complete shutdown of all cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
In a press briefing today, South Korea’s justice minister Park Sang-ki stated in quotes reported by local publication Yonhap News:
“The ministry is preparing legislation that basically bans any transactions based on a virtual currency through the trading floor. We have grave concerns about [the craze over] virtual currency and [a shutdown] would be one of the goals we are aiming for.”
The very proposal of a hardline ban on the entire cryptocurrency trading market was first suggested by the justice ministry nearly a month ago to the day. There had been “enough discussion” among government agencies including the finance ministry and other financial regulators prior to the proposal of a sweeping ban, a press official told Reuters.
South Korea is among the biggest cryptocurrency markets in the world, particularly for major coins such as bitcoin, Ethereum, ripple and bitcoin cash.
Locally, prices have taken a beating with Ripple falling as much as 25% and Bitcoin dropping over 17.5%. That’s still a near 30% premium compared to other major markets, which have also fallen.
After climbing near $15,000 (Bitfinex) at the turn of Thursday, bitcoin price fell to $12,639 – the lowest value for the cryptocurrency in 2018.