South Korea Plans to Ban Bitcoin Trading
South Korea said on Thursday it plans to ban trading of cryptocurrency, including the popular bitcoin.
The announcement sent bitcoin prices much lower and created unrest in the cryptocurrency market.
Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual money on South Korean currency exchanges.
He said, "There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges."
The price of bitcoin in South Korea dropped as much as 21 percent immediately after the minister's comments.
Around the world, one bitcoin was valued at about $14,000 on Thursday, January 11. Over the past year, the price moved from less than $1,000 in January 2017 to a high of $19,000 last month.
Bitcoin is different from national currencies, which are supported by governments and national banks. It is stored as a line of computer code. It is not printed on paper or something you can hold.
Bitcoin is similar to real money because you can spend it without using your real identity, as you do with a credit card. People who want to buy and sell things anonymously like bitcoin.
Exchanges of bitcoin in South Korea
By Thursday afternoon, more than 55,000 South Koreans called on the government to stop the proposed ban.
After the price drop, the South Korean president's office said a ban on cryptocurrency exchanges had yet to be finalized. It said the ban was one of the measures being considered.
A press official at the justice ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading came after "enough discussion" with finance ministry and financial officials.
Once a bill is written, legislation for a ban of virtual coin trading still requires a majority of the vote in the National Assembly. It is a process that could take months or even years.
Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security, told Reuters the ban "will make trading difficult here, but not impossible."
Mun added, "Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example, Japan."
Park Nok-sun is a cryptocurrency expert at NH Investment & Securities. Park said "Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more (investors) jumping in, not out."
South Korean officials are worried that the rising value has fueled huge demand for cryptocurrency in the country. They fear college students and housewives are hoping to get rich quick by investing. They likened it to a game of chance.
The news of South Korea's proposed ban came as governments around the world are looking to control the trading of cryptocurrencies.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
1.justice minister 司法部
Paola Severino, a law teacher and courtroom advocate, is the justice minister.
2.credit card 信用卡
He lost his credit card, and hurried to the bank to report it.
3.get rich 发家致富
You don't get rich, but you can get a modest living out of it.
4.jumping in 投入
Wait for the lab results come back before jumping in.
5.Bitcoin is similar to real money because you can spend it without using your real identity, as you do with a credit card.
be similar to 与...相似
The accident was similar to one that happened in 1973.
His stance towards the story is quite similar to ours.
6.Once a bill is written, legislation for a ban of virtual coin trading still requires a majority of the vote in the National Assembly.
a majority of 大多数的
Members of parliament approved the move by a majority of ninety-nine.
At no time did a majority of Czechoslavakia's citizens support the country's break-up.
韩国司法部长朴相基（Park Sang-ki）表示，韩国政府欲出台法案，禁止外汇交易所交易虚拟货币 。
他说：“虚拟货币存在很大隐患 。司法部正在准备一项立法，禁止加密货币通过交易所交易 。”
周四（1月11日），全球范围内的比特币单价约1.4万美元 。过去一年里，比特币价格从2017年1月的不到1千美元飙升至上个月的1.9万美元 。
比特币与获得政府、国家银行支持的国家货币不同 。它被存储为一行计算机代码 。这类货币不是纸钞或其它可直接持有的东西 。
比特币具备真实货币的功能，消费比特币时无需像刷信用卡一样验证真实身份 。和比特币一样，买卖双方的身份也是匿名的 。
一旦法案被起草，对虚拟货币交易禁令的立法还需获得国民议会多数票数的支持 。这个过程可能需要几个月甚至几年 。
EST Security首席分析师Mun Chong-hyun对路透社表示，禁令“会导致韩国的数字货币交易难度增加，但不是无法交易 。”
Park Nok-sun是NH Investment & Securities的加密货币分析师 。Park表示，“有些官员正在推动更加强有力的监管措施，因为他们看到投资者只增不减 。”
韩国官员担心，比特币价格飙升推动了国内加密货币的巨大需求 。他们担心大学生和家庭主妇都希望通过投资比特币一夜暴富 。他们将这比作一场博弈 。