Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are getting smoked after a report says south korea is cracking do

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SEOUL Reuters - With a tech-savvy population quick to adopt the latest gadgets and a young generation facing dim prospects in the conventional workplace, South Korea has been a fertile ground for virtual currencies. But the country's swift embrace of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has been met with an equally swift backlash by regulators, who have gone so far as to propose outright bans on trading.

With markets around the world watching, South Korea has become a fault line between a generation that sees cryptocurrencies as a way to a better life, and government officials who have likened the market to gambling and warned that it encourages illicit behavior.

On Thursday the justice minister, Park Sang-ki, sent global bitcoin prices temporarily plummeting and virtual coin markets into turmoil when he said regulators were preparing legislation to halt cryptocurrency trading. As of Friday, a petition on the website of the presidential Blue House had drawn more thansignatures opposing the move. Heavy internet traffic briefly crashed the site. The online uprising against the government's plans puts President Moon Jae-in a tough spot, and his office was quick to say a ban is just one proposal under consideration.

With the youth unemployment rate three times the national average and a growing income gap between rich and poor, many young Koreans worry about their economic prospects.

My life depends on it," one petitioner wrote on the Blue House website. Lee Min-kyung, a year old student in a Seoul-based graduate school said she earned about 18 million won 16, She said the government is showing haphazard responses simply because officials have "no idea. More than 30 percent of office workers surveyed in December by Saramin, a South Korea-based job portal, said they traded cryptocurrencies. The respondents had an average of 5. There is always something fishy about things that grow this fast," Koh said.

South Korea is not alone in struggling to figure out how to tax and regulate online currencies, many of which are designed to provide anonymity for transactions. In September last year, China cracked down on cryptocurrency trading, citing what officials saw as broader risks to the country's economy.

As South Korea accounts for about 15 percent of global bitcoin trading, according to the website Coinhills. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are getting smoked after a report says south korea is cracking do local price of bitcoin in South Korea bounced back on Friday to Park Chong-hoon, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Seoul, said, "South Koreans find it hard to deal with the jealousy from watching their neighbours getting rich fast.

It is a sentiment echoed by many. Scepticism of "get-rich-quick" schemes among South Korean officials has colored past forays by international finance into the country. In the mids the U. That controversy, which raised concerns over South Korean money flowing to foreign entities, is probably among several factors making South Korea officials wary of managing the new breed of markets originated abroad, analysts said. Submit Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are getting smoked after a report says south korea is cracking do Magnifiying glass search icon.

Search Submit Search Magnifiying glass search icon. By Cynthia Kim and Heekyong Yang SEOUL Reuters - With a tech-savvy population quick to adopt the latest gadgets and a young generation facing dim prospects in the conventional workplace, South Korea has been a fertile ground for virtual currencies. That trend has earned critics on the street as well as in government offices. Koh Young-sam, a year old mechanic in Seoul, warned that the craze would collapse.

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