Ripple’s price is getting smashed as South Korea looks to ban cryptocurrency trading
It's the second-largest market in the world for Ethereum and Ripple as of January 2018.
The South Korean government is preparing a bill which could ban all trading in the third-biggest crypto market in the world.
As of January 2018, more than 10% of the world's Ethereum, 13% of Ripple and almost 5% of bitcoin is being traded against the South Korean won.
As a result, both bitcoin's and Ripple's prices have dropped 10% in the last couple of hours since the news broke.
South Korea's Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said at a press conference earlier today that his government is worried about the speculative nature of crypto trading.
"There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges," he said.
Park Sang-ki said that his office would not disclose details of the potential shutdown as of yet.
The bill still needs to pass parliament for these changes to come into effect.
A big couple of weeks for South Korean crypto
The news comes just hours after Korea's largest crypto exchanges, including Bithumb and Coinone, were raided by police in relation to tax evasion. One Coinone staff member told Reuters that the police had been investigating the company for months as they believed cryptocurrency trading was gambling.
Two weeks ago, the government also announced it was going to put tougher regulations on the crypto industry, but stopped short of saying it would ban trading altogether.
On 29 December, it announced that locally based exchanges were now banned from issuing new trading accounts. If an exchange continues to issue accounts, the government said it will shut down offending exchanges. It also said it would monitor local banks and limit the funds that flow into cryptocurrency exchanges if it needs to.
South Korea also introduced a new rule where traders from 20 January would now need to use their real name, banning anonymous trading.
Currently, many South Korean exchanges allow people to trade with just an email and name, with no real verifying of a buyer's identity.
The South Korean government says it is worried about the volatility of the market as well as the vulnerability exchanges have to being hacked. The government is also worried about investment fraud. A recent study by online employment site Saramin found that over 30% of South Korea's workforce was trading in cryptocurrencies.
Earlier this month, South Korean exchange Youbit filed for bankruptcy after is lost $45 million in a hack as well as $92 million in another hack back in April.