South Korea considers shutting down domestic cryptocurrency exchanges

Bitcoin mines in China

GETTYLots of bitcoin mines are in China

Bitcoin touched a peak of nearly $20,000 in December - and indeed crossed over that threshold on some exchanges - but has since been roiled by several large sell-offs. The fall of Bitcoin was followed by other major cryptocurrencies Ethereum and Ripple, which erased over 25%.

Nevertheless, it only fell below the "psychological benchmark" just briefly before it started to tick higher and above $10,000 again.

In South Korea, shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges is still an option, Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon said in an interview with TBS radio.

The South Korean government said last week that Seoul was preparing to ban cryptocurrency trading platforms, before backtracking and saying it was only one of the measures being considered by the Ministry of Justice.

Separately, a senior Chinese central banker said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services. While there's no immediate reason for today's dip, bitcoin has been falling over the past week. Last the cryptocurrency saw meteoric rise, going from around 800 dollars in January of 2017 to almost $20,000 in December. It's also put blockchain - the software technology enabling Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies - on a trajectory of its own. The market cap, and the price of some coins recovered slightly from that low, but are still significantly lower.

The price plunge is largely reported to have been sparked by South Korea and the increased speculation that it may soon ban domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.

According to reports, the price of bitcoin on some exchanges collapsed more than 20%, falling below the US$10,000 mark that the currency broke through in November of previous year.

The depreciation of the cryptocurrency with largest market value continues, against the backdrop of the increasing intentions of regulators around the world to introduce rules to curb the growth of the cryptocurrency industry.

The cryptocurrency is still down roughly 19% this year to date with crackdowns in South Korea and China, as well as hacks and scam warnings pushing away investors. According to CoinMarketCap data, ethereum was trading more than 23% lower at $824.10 a coin after sinking beneath $1,000 on Tuesday.

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