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Friday, January 12, 2018

Why South Korean cryptocurrency investors are in a panic - and how it's effecting all of us...

South Korea has played a major role in the cryptocurrency boom that often goes unnoticed to those of us on the English speaking side of things. 

They have their own corner of the crypto world - with their own forums, chat rooms and their own exchanges - where prices can even vary greatly from US/EU exchange rates.

But nonetheless - the volume of money they bring in effects us all. They account for about 15% of the entire market.

Today however, our crypto friends in South Korea are in a panic.  Yesterday their justice minister, Park Sang-ki announced "regulators are preparing legislation to halt cryptocurrency trading" that sent the markets into a nose dive.

So why are their politicians looking to crack down?  It appears what first drew government attention is lack security at two South Korean exchanges.

First, there was the Bithumb hack in July - over 30,000 victims losing their Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Then came YoBit, forced to shut down after suffering two major attacks in one year.

Throw in your standard "it's a bubble" fears on top of these - and we get some very worried politicians.

But democracy, and South Korean politicians fearing backlash at the voting booths may save cryptocurrency trading in the nation.  Chief security strategist at AsTech, a cyber security firm explained to Infosecurity Mag:

“This ban, though, would impact a growing number of citizens and could cause a huge backlash against the government, both immediately and in any voting situation. At this point, it may be too early to guess at what a ban on cryptocurrency trading would do to South Korea, either economically or politically, but as the number of South Koreans who use cryptocurrencies increases, this issue will become more challenging to address at a national level.”

With youth unemployment rates 3x higher than the national average, playing the cryptocurrency markets has taken the place of a job for many young South Koreans.

As of today, an online petition against the proposed ban has over 120,000 signatures - and even crashed the website earlier.

So, that's where things stand now, we're watching closely for future developments. 

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Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk