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Bitcoin crackdown begins

Leia Klingel

Bitcoin prices were reeling on Thursday, following reports that South Korea’s government plans to ban cryptocurrency trading.

South Korea’s Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges, Reuters reported.

"There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges," Park said told a news conference, according to Reuters.

But, after bitcoin collapsed, a few hours later South Korea’s presidential office said a ban on the country's virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized, though it was one of the measures being considered.

In South Korea, police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion, Reuters reported.

Government bodies around the world have been clamping down on bitcoin in some form. Last weekend, Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities had outlined proposals to discourage bitcoin mining. Bitcoin miners are prevalent in China due to low operational costs.

Meanwhile, stateside, a few companies withdrew their applications for bitcoin ETFs, according to Coindesk, with some companies saying that the SEC had been “resistant” to their efforts. Companies that withdrew their applications include Exchange Listed Funds Trust, ProShares and Direxion.

The price of bitcoin was down more than 5% at $14,106.27 as of 10:30  a.m. ET, according to Coindesk.

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