Following reports of a possible shutdown of all Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, the market immediately reacted over the weekend with massive dips in prices. The continuing decline of almost all of the cryptocurrencies over the past few weeks can also be attributed to the recent raids on Coinone and Bithumb, which are two of South Korea's biggest exchanges. South Korean officials have also announced that they will be continuing their efforts to curb speculative trading in the country by eliminating all criminal activities involving Bitcoin and other currencies.
As of this writing, Bitcoin has remained at a steady price range of around $13,320 after having reached a high of $14,298 over the weekend, according to Yahoo. The first and most popular digital currency, which currently has a market capitalization of around $233 billion, lost more than $1,331 of its value in less than a day following North Korea's announcement of its planned shutdown. Ethereum, the second largest digital currency, didn't fare as well as it plummeted down to $1,232.44 as of 2:40 a.m. ET after reaching a high of $1,423.20 over the weekend. Popular alternative cryptocurrencies, or otherwise referred to as altcoins, such as Cardano and Tron have also experienced massive drops in their values with up to 17 percent dips within a 24-hour time frame.While South Korea continues its campaign to get rid of illegal exchanges and to curb its citizen's penchant for speculating on digital currencies, officials have revealed that they are not entirely against cryptocurrencies in general. South Korean remains to be one of the largest markets for major digital currencies, but the current system is plagued by illegal exchanges and market manipulation. A number of exchanges in the country are trading at a premium, which basically means that they are pricing the different digital currencies at significantly higher values when compared to exchanges in other countries. In an announcement earlier this week, South Korean senior official Jung Ki-Joon explained that while they are completely against illegal acts and digital currency speculation, the country is prepared to fully support the research and development of blockchain technology as it does see its potential. The official also clarified that the shutdown plan is still a proposal suggested by the justice ministry and that they still need to coordinate with the other ministries in how exactly they will go about implementing it.
A report from Bloomberg has revealed that China is now planning to prevent its citizens from accessing websites and mobile apps that are offering Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange services. The same report reveals that Chinese authorities will soon be going after institutions that provide exchange, clearing, and other services related to digital currencies.