Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fell on Tuesday as South Korea continued to target the exchanges on which the controversial digital currency units are traded.
Having climbed close to $20,000 per unit in mid December, Bitcoin has lost nearly half its value in the subsequent weeks as governments around the world attempt to either ban or regulate trade on digital currency exchanges.
The latest came from South Korea, which has said it wants to collect corporate and local income taxes from the country's digital currency exchanges. The country also wants to make cryptocurrency trade more transparent by requiring exchanges to share transaction data with banks.
Following media reports in the Korean Times and the Yonhap news agency, the government issued a statement on its website from the Ministry of Strategy and Finance.
“In relation to virtual currency taxation, we are currently considering the method to secure taxation data…it has not been decided yet.”
South Korea has been among the most active countries in pursuing stricter trading standards on digital currency exchanges.
It remains important as it is the third-biggest market in the world for bitcoin trades behind Japan and the US and the Korea Blockchain Industry Association estimates there are more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
South Korea's government continues to consider an outright ban on digital currency trade, as is also being investigated in China. Finance minister Kim Dong-yeon said in a recent interview that banning bitcoin trade remained "a live option".
But tighter regulation appears agreed and it seems that taxation and using real-name accounts will be among the first steps. The ban on anonymity is though to be causing alarm among cryptocurrency traders.
The broad range of digital currencies were all lower in morning trade in London:
- Bitcoin is down 11.19% to $10,506
- Ethereum is down 10.67% to $964.47
- Ripple is down 8.53% to $1.266
- Litecoin is down 9.75% to $174.32