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South Korea won't ban cryptocurrency trading after all

Bitcoin prices have rebounded on the news.
Swapna Krishna, @skrishna
February 20, 2018
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Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

South Korea has been flirting with banning cryptocurrency trading for some time now. However, now it appears the country is backtracking. Bloomberg reports that South Korea's regulators have indicated that they will continue to support "normal" trading of the cryptocurrency.

In late 2017, South Korea, which is the third largest market for cryptocurrency, began cracking down on Bitcoin traders. It banned initial coin offerings and stopped allowing anonymous cryptocurrency accounts. At the beginning of this year, South Korean officials announced an outright ban on cryptocurrency trading was in the works. Many cryptocurrencies were priced higher on South Korea's exchanges than in the rest of the world, and officials in the country thought of it as gambling. There was also the fear that cryptocurrency trading could lead to tax evasion.

Apparently, South Korean regulators have worked out their concerns, because Choe Heungsik, the governor of South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, has said that his organization is trying to normalize cryptocurrency trading. This is a big shift in rhetoric against digital currencies.

Bitcoin has undergone quite the drama over the past few weeks, as the value of the cryptocurrency plunged. According to Bloomberg, much of the loss in value was due to speculation that countries would begin banning cryptocurrency trading. Since these indications of support began to surface, however, Bitcoin has begun rebounding.

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