Bitcoin latest: South Korea will not ban cryptocurrency trading, finance minister says after new rules send price crashing

South Korea is not planning to ban cryptocurrency trading, the country’s finance minister has said.

Bitcoin’s value has fallen heavily over recent weeks, amid fears that the South Korean government was planning an extreme crackdown. 

Several senior figures recently hinted that a complete ban on cryptocurrency exchanges was under consideration. 

That spread panic amongst investors, which caused the value of many of the biggest digital currencies by market capitalisation to decline heavily.

However, an outright ban now appears to be off the table.

“There is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency [market],” said Kim Dong-yeon, South Korea’s finance minister, today. 

He added that the government’s immediate task was to regulate exchanges.

One of the biggest concerns around bitcoin is its popularity amongst criminals, who tend to favour it over traditional fiat money because it allows them to conceal their identities while buying illicit goods. 

Effective from 30 January, the South Korean government imposed rules that allow only real-name bank accounts to be used for cryptocurrency trading.

The rule is designed to stop bitcoin and other digital currencies from being used for money laundering and other crimes.

Shortly after the rule was enforced, bitcoin’s value dropped heavily.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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