A man walks past an electric board showing exchange rates of various cryptocurrencies at Bithumb cryptocurrencies exchange in Seoul, South Korea, January 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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South Korea's government said Thursday it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation's police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.A press official at the Justice Ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after "enough discussion" with other government agencies, including the nation's Finance Ministry and financial regulators.Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.There are more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, according to Korea Blockchain Industry Association.The news of South Korea's proposed ban came as authorities tightened their grip on some cryptocurrency exchanges.
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