The global value of the Bitcoin crypto-currency reportedly dropped by some 13.5% earlier this week after news surfaced that legislators in South Korea are preparing to introduce legislation that would hope to institute an outright ban on its use.
According to a report from The Guardian newspaper, the Thursday morning news sent the price of the decentralized tradable digital asset, which is popular among many online casino aficionados, plummeting by around $2,000 from the previous day’s high of $14,890.
“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and [the] Ministry of Justice is basically preparing a bill to ban crypto-currency trading through exchanges,” South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-Ki, reportedly declared on January 11.
The newspaper reported that South Korea is one of the ‘key nations’ driving the rising popularity of Bitcoin due to its more than twelve crypto-currency exchanges with the local value of the digital money having swelled by around 1,500% over the last year due to high demand from demographics as varied as housewives and university students. But, this popularity has purportedly stoked worries that gambling addiction may be on the rise and has resulted in numerous raids by tax authorities and police.
The Guardian reported that once the Ministry of Justice drafts its Bitcoin prohibition legislation, the measure will go to the country’s National Assembly where it must attain support from a majority of the body’s 297 members in order to become the law of the land. However, the newspaper detailed that this process could take many months or even years to complete, while Thursday saw the government’s official website crash after approximately 55,000 South Koreans logged in to sign a digital petition asking President Moon Jae-In to intervene and stop the proposed ban.
Mun Chong-Hyun, an analyst with EST Security, reportedly told the newspaper that the implementation of the planned legislation would make the trading of Bitcoin in South Korea difficult ‘but not impossible’.
“Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in [South] Korea but they can go overseas; for example Japan,” Mun reportedly told The Guardian.
The newspaper moreover reported that this week additionally saw American multi-billionaire business magnate Warren Buffet declare that he would never invest in Bitcoin before predicting that the future will see all crypto-currencies fail.