Two men speaking in front of an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies at Bithumb cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea. Photo: Reuters

South Korea’s government said yesterday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.
The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.
Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a Bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the Justice Ministry is basically preparing a Bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park told a news conference, according to the ministry’s press office.
After the market’s sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation’s presidential office hours later said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalised while it was one of the measures being considered.
A press official at the Justice Ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other...

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