08:51 GMT +322 September 2019
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    A coin representing the bitcoin cryptocurrency is seen on computer circuit boards in this illustration picture, October 26, 2017

    Bitcoin Rebounds as South Korea Backs Off From Banning Cryptocurrency Trading

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    On Thursday, the South Korean justice minister said the government was preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending the price of Bitcoin down. However, the government later softened its stance on the issue, but still stressing the need to regulate the market.

    The price of Bitcoin has returned to growth following the backpedaling by the South Korean government on its previously reported plan to ban cryptocurrency trading, market data shows.

    According to Coinmarketcap.com, the value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency grew 2.29 percent at one point, to $13,700. Bitcoin rose by 1.94 percent, to $13,600, on Bitfinex; and by 4.21 percent, to $13,700 on GDAX. According to data from Coindesk, the price of Bitcoin grew by 3.37 percent, to $13,700.

    Other popular cryptocurrencies have also been on the rise. Ethereum rose by 2.08 percent (to $1,230), Ripple – by 21.16 percent (to $2.05) and Bitcoin Cash – by 3.55 percent (to $2,570), according Coinmarketcap.com.

    At one point, the cryptocurrency market cap reached $688.7 billion, with Bitcoin accounting for nearly 34 percent of global cryptocurrency trading, the data shows.

    READ MORE: Chinese Regulator Reportedly Orders Crackdown on Bitcoin Mining

    A slump in the price of Bitcoin was prompted the previous day by reports that the South Korean government was preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading in the domestic market, one of the main sources of global demand for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

    On Thursday, Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said at a press conference that there were "great concerns regarding virtual currencies" and that the government was "basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges."

    Later in the day, however, the South Korean presidential office stated that any potential bill is not a final measure.

    "Justice Minister Park Sang-ki's remarks regarding the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges is one of the measures that have been prepared by the Justice Ministry, but it is not a finalized decision and will be finalized through discussion and a coordination process with each government ministry," the chief presidential press secretary said in a statement, as cited by the Yonhap news agency.

    In turn, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said Friday that the government wants to respond to the country’s "overheated" cryptocurrency market, but the proposal to ban cryptocurrency trading needs more consultations among ministries.

    Last month, the South Korean government said it would increase regulation of the cryptocurrency market, including banning anonymous crypto accounts and taking measures to shut down exchanges if needed.

    On Monday, South Korean regulators inspected six local banks that offered cryptocurrency accounts, looking into a potential breach of anti-money laundering rules.


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    cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, South Korea
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