Following an emergency meeting chaired by Dec. 13, Hong Nam-ki, the Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the South Korean government announced a series of measures designed to regulate the emerging virtual currency market. These include prohibiting non-residents and minors under 19 from engaging in the trading of Bitcoin or other virtual currencies. An influx of Chinese investors in the South Korean virtual currency market has been a factor fueling Bitcoin demand in the country, where nearly 20% of global trading activity occurs.
In a press release, the government said that the new regulations were necessary “to prevent a general public without expertise from suffering losses by participating in virtual currency investments that have massive fluctuations.” The new measures were put into place just days after a scam perpetrated by a Korean high school student using a fake Bitcoin “hard fork” contributed to the currency’s value falling 7%, resulting in a staggering $46 billion loss for investors. (Yonhap)