[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s presidential office said on Jan. 11 the government has not yet decided on shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges, just seven hours after the Justice Ministry’s announcement of a bill banning exchange trading.
“Exchange shutdown is one of the measures the ministry is preparing. The government’s final decision will be made after further discussions,” said Yoon Young-chan, chief press secretary to President Moon Jae-in.
While a series of toughened measures, including real-name transactions, have had little impact in cooling the nation’s cryptocurrency frenzy, miscommunication among government offices seem to be fueling further confusion in the market.
Coin rates are displayed at Bithumb, the nation`s largest cyptocurrency exchange.
[Q&A] Korea prepares bill to close cryptocurrency exchanges
Earlier on the day, Justice Minister Park Sang-ki announced the ministry was preparing a bill that bans cryptocurrency transactions at exchanges, hinting at an ultimate exchange shutdown.
Following the comments, the price of Bitcoin and other virtual currencies tumbled more than 20 percent and some 55,000 angry investors rushed to join a petition demanding the presidential office halt the crackdown.
After Cheong Wa Dae’s denial of immediate exchange shutdown, the price slightly recovered but continued to fall. As of 11 a.m. on Jan. 12, Bitcoin was trading at 18.96 million won (US$17,790), down 9 percent from the previous day, which compared to US$13,369 in the US.
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)