The South Korean government plan to ban cryptocurrency trading has sent bitcoin prices plummeting.
The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.
Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government is preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges, Reuters reports.
A government press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.
The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.
The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21% to 18.3 million won ($17,064.53) after the minister’s comments. It still trades at around a 30% premium compared to most other countries.