No Bitcoin Ban in South Korea
There will be no cryptocurrency trading ban in the short-term in South Korea, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The announcement contradicts an earlier statement from the Ministry of Justice, which had prompted a mass sell-off.
“All government ministries agree on the need for a government response to an overheating in cryptocurrency speculation and for a degree of regulation,” FInance Minister Kim Dong-yeon told reporters, as quoted by the news agency Yonhap.
“The issue of banning exchanges that the justice minister talked about yesterday is a proposal by the Justice Ministry and it needs more coordination among ministries,” Kim added.
Friday’s news comes after a major wave of criticism was aroused in South Korea following the previous day’s announcement by the Ministry of Justice, stating its plans to ban cryptocurrency trading. It seems the Ministry of Justice acted independently and without the consent of other government agencies.
More than 60,000 Koreans have signed a petition against the mooted cryptocurrency trading ban and for the dismissal of the head of the Ministry of Justice Park Sang-ki, who announced the upcoming ban. South Korea is one of the largest hubs for cryptocurrency mining and trading.
The largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin, was trading flat on the news at $13,822, still more than 30 percent down on its $20,000 peak of December 17.
Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is highly speculative, resembling gambling closely even by financial standards, and tokens like bitcoin and ethereum are priced far higher than on other exchanges.
For example, bitcoin was trading near $18,000 on Korean exchange Bithumb, a 33 percent difference compared with other exchanges. Coinmarketcap, one of the most renowned cryptocurrency indices, has removed a group of Korean exchanges from its data set because of the difference.
In December, South Korea announced it was banning cryptocurrency exchanges from issuing new trading accounts. If the ruling is violated, the exchange can be shut down, the authorities said. The South Korean commission added that all cryptocurrency trading should be done under individuals’ real names.
The bestseller among the top five of the largest cryptocurrencies. Ripple went from a fraction of a penny ($0.006523) to $2.29, ending the year with an astonishing growth of 35,000 percent, up 350 times in value. With its market cap north of $100 billion, ripple passed the competition to become the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency after bitcoin.
Ripple is more known for its digital payment protocol than its cryptocurrency. Here’s an extract from Investopedia, which perfectly explains how the ripple system works.
“Lawrence needs to send $100 to David who lives in a different city. He gives his local agent, Kate, the money to send to David with a password that David is required to answer correctly to receive the funds. Kate alerts David’s agent, Rose, of the transaction details – recipient, funds to be reimbursed, and password. If David gives Rose the right password, Rose gives him $100. However, the money comes from Rose’s account which means that Kate would owe Rose $100. Rose can either record a journal of all Kate’s debt or IOUs which Kate would pay on an agreed day, or make counter transactions which would balance the debt.”
In other words, ripple is a cryptocurrency that acts as a bridge currency to other currencies and doesn’t discriminate the peers whether they are using digital money or fiat currencies.
Growth in 2017: $0.006523 to $2.29, up 35,000 percent
Launched by a Russian-Canadian IT programmer Vitalik Buterin, ethereum is the third-largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization exceeding $80 billion. Worth just $8 at the beginning of last year, ethereum has grown almost 100-fold by the end of 2017.
The ethereum blockchain has become the most common platform for initial coin offerings (ICOs). From a user’s point of view, bitcoin is just a payment system. Ethereum gives users the ability to write wallet-based programs, which is handy for ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), explains Kaspersky Lab.
2017 growth: $8 to $750, up 9,500 percent
GBiT makes it easy to access and use a super secure cryptocurrency that has all of the benefits of Bitcoin and more. Transactions in GBiT happen faster and are more anonymous but within our proprietary checks and balances. Did you know that anyone with your public Bitcoin wallet address can see how many bitcoin you have, and your entire transaction history? GBiT protects your transaction history and wallet contents from prying eyes, whilst leaving publicly accessible transaction hashes available for the technically discerning to authenticate transactions.
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The original bitcoin has spun off bitcoin cash, bitcoin gold, and many other bitcoin-branded cryptocurrencies. Not all of them are successful, but this one definitely is.
Having split from bitcoin in August, bitcoin cash has seen an increase in the size of blocks from bitcoin’s one megabyte to eight. Bitcoin cash is faster than mainline bitcoin and boasts smaller commission fees.
However, it is often criticized for being overly centralized. Most of bitcoin cash mining is done out of Korea, and most of tokens are owned by just two people, Jihan Wu and Roger Ver.
2017 growth from $555 to $2,550, up 500 percent since August
This digital token is essentially a blockchain that works both as a cryptocurrency and a smart contract platform. Its goal was to become the “first blockchain project to be developed from a scientific philosophy.”
The mysterious cardano cryptocurrency has enjoyed massive growth in the three months since it was launched on October 1.
Growth in 2017: from $0.02 to $0.70, up 35 times in value since October
Launched in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’ by Charlie Lee, an MIT graduate, and former Google engineer. Just like bitcoin, litecoin is generated by mining.
It was developed to improve on bitcoin’s shortcomings and has earned the market support along with high trade volume and liquidity over the years. Litecoin is designed to produce a maximum of 84 million coins, four times that of bitcoin.
Some experts say litecoin should be worth exactly one-quarter of bitcoin. Now it is only worth two percent of the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency.
Lee has sold all his tokens saying he no longer needs to “tie his financial success to litecoin’s success.” At the time of the sale in December, Lee reportedly enjoyed a 7,500 profit on his cryptocurrency.
Growth in 2017: from $4.33 to $233, up 5,500 percent