Cryptocurrency prices steadied on Thursday, ending a difficult week that has seen bitcoin slump by around 13% since Monday morning. Ripple, meanwhile, made strong gains on the back of a tie-up with MoneyGram.
Worries regarding a crackdown against cryptocurrencies in South Korea have been chief among the issues weighing on bitcoin this week.
On Thursday, South Korea justice minister, Park Sang-ki, renewed concerns on the market´s future in Asia as he said local regulators were preparing legislation to stop cryptocurrency trading.
There is however much speculation as to whether the proposals will actually result in an end to trading.
Public opinion in South Korea is said to be sharply divided, with the younger generation appearing to be generally strong supporters of a continuation in crypto trading.
“The latest idea to ban it all seems to have come out of a fear that when the bubble bursts and things go wrong, it will be all on the government,” said Yun Chang-hyun, an economics professor at the University of Seoul.
The problems for cyptos are not confined to South Korea. This week, officials in China were also reported to have requested local governments to guide bitcoin mining companies to adopt an “orderly” exit from the business.
China´s internet-finance regulator, the Leading Group of Internet Financial Risks Remediation, is reported to have requested local authorities to use measures linked to electricity price, land use, tax, and environmental protection to “guide” bitcoin miners to cease operating.
And it doesn´t stop there. Cyptos could also start to feel the heat from US regulators.
This week it also emerged that the US Senate’s financial services panel is to hold a hearing next month with the country’s top markets regulators to discuss bitcoin amid rising concerns over the risks cryptocurrencies could pose to the financial system.
The Senate Banking Committee is expected to take testimony from Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman Christopher Giancarlo and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton in early February.
Ripple appeared to be resuming its upward trajectory, rising around 19% on Friday´s trading session. There was a similar sharp upward move in Thursday´s session with the latest bull sentiment behind Ripple prompted by news of yet another partnership, this time with money transfer giant MoneyGram.
MoneyGram will pilot XRP in their payment flows and explore MoneyGram´s integration into Ripple´s ecosystem through xVia.
“The inefficiencies of global payments don’t just affect banks, they also affect institutions like MoneyGram. Money transfer companies are incredibly important because they help people get money to their friends and loved ones,” said Brad Garlinghouse, chief executive of Ripple.
Bitcoin was up by around 5% on Friday.