This week has been a pretty dull one for bitcoin especially with the dramatic price drops that unearthed some doubt about the hype that cryptocurrencies had created towards the end of 2017. It eventually recovered, but by doing so, it only reminded the world of how unpredictable decentralized digital currencies are. Furthermore, there have been reports that regulators are planning to toughen the market – this along with the reported evocations of the Great Depression in many ways made the week even more turbulent than expected.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for bitcoin’s price drop is the possibility of cryptocurrency trading being outlawed in some countries from various parts of the globe. One of the countries whose government has been hinting at such a move is South Korea. Earlier this week, Park Sang-ki, South Korea’s justice minister said that the country’s government had rather “great concerns” pertaining to digital currencies and was therefore “basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges”, especially because they think that crypto will make tax evasion easier.
While South Korea has since been seen to have softened its stance on the matter after a spokesperson of the Presidential Office said the possibility of a ban on crypto exchanges was simply “one of the measures prepared by the Ministry of Justice, but … not a measure that has been finalized”, investors are still panicking over the confusion caused by the uncertainty of how exactly the country intends to crack down on crypto.
There is a good reason for investor panic since even if the total ban on crypto exchanges does not come to pass, South Korea can still impose new regulations that could hugely impact the market – like bans on anonymous crypto trading accounts and underage investors, for instance. In a similar scenario, last September, the Chinese government shut down domestic changes and according to more recent reports, there are even going an extra mile to cut off access to all online crypto platforms and services operating from within or outside its borders.
Even Europe is Bursting Bitcoin’s Bubble
Financial watchdogs in Europe have begun to tighten the screws on cryptocurrencies as well in a bid to ease up the pressure of the price boom that is considered by many European economists to be nothing more than a bubble. Europe’s financial regulators watched cautiously as the price of bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000 last year. In the process, other cryptocurrencies also received a much-needed boost.
However, Europeans have hopped off of the back seat and they are now joining other policymakers from various parts of the globe in warning investors of the possibility that the crypto bubble could pop. French and German politicians, for instance, recently revealed plans to present a joint proposal that calls for the regulation of cryptocurrencies at March’s G20 summit.