SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Korea Bizwire) – Bitcoin prices on South Korean exchanges have risen today despite hints at government regulation, and a drop in the value of the cryptocurrency in other markets.
According to cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, the price per bitcoin reached 24.7 million won as of 2:30 p.m. today, up 1.4 percent after financial authorities announced plans to investigate cryptocurrency exchanges.
Earlier today, Choi Jong-ku, the chairman of the Financial Service Commission, held an emergency briefing to clarify the government’s stance on cryptocurrency, during which he said a joint investigation with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit was launched into six banks where cryptocurrency has been exchanged.
Choi said that the government is ramping up monitoring efforts, and is poised to hold accountable banks for their duty to prevent money laundering.
Despite the strong stance taken by the government, which has threatened to shut down cryptocurrency accounts issued at exchanges at fault, the South Korean bitcoin market did not appear to be affected today.
Both the price of bitcoins and altcoins — alternative cryptocurrencies launched after the success of Bitcoin – went up around the time when the briefing was held by the Financial Service Commission.
Ethereum’s price jumped 6.1 percent, from 1,865,300 won to 1,980,000 won this afternoon, while Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) also enjoyed 3.4 percent and 7 percent increases, respectively, during the same time.
In the meantime, the international price of Ethereum dropped 1.6 percent at a similar time, drawing a stark contrast with the 6.1 percent price increase in South Korea, according to Bithumb’s analysis based on data from website CoinMarketCap.
In a further sign of the gap between the two markets, Ethereum Classic’s price went up 7 percent at South Korean exchanges, while the altcoin dropped 10 percent in value in the international market.
Similarly, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple and Litecoin also faced price drops, adding to the growing speculation that the South Korean market could be on course for decoupling with the international market.
During the emergency briefing earlier today, Choi, who chairs the Financial Services Commission, said South Korea is seeking to collaborate with China and Japan by “setting up a detailed system of cooperation”.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)