Korea's Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon has said that all ministries of the government share the same thoughts on the need to regulate the nation's overheated cryptocurrency market.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Kim said that the relevant ministries need to hold further discussions over the justice ministry's plan to ban cryptocurrency exchanges, but he stressed that the government will continue to carefully look into possible countermeasures against speculative investment in virtual coins.
Justice Minister Park Sang-ki made a shocking announcement on Thursday on the ministry's plan to shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, following which billions of dollars were wiped off the global cryptocurrency market.
The minister soon softened his stance, claiming that the shutdown was not a done deal, adding that careful consideration with other government agencies is needed.
The Korean government has been striving to cope with the overheated local cryptocurrency market which has seen abnormal price jumps, with bitcoin trading at prices up to 30 percent higher than other countries due to the so-called "Kimchi premium".
An expert in the industry attributed the sudden boom in digital currency trading in Korea to be down to its simple and fast-changing nature.
"The ups and downs in cryptocurrency don't have a specific cause. It's very simple and prices fluctuate fast. I think this is why the market has spread so quickly, especially among young investors in their 20s."
Though Korea is now being called the world's third largest digital currency market, trading is still considered risky as cryptocurrencies are not recognized as financial products and there are no rules yet to protect investors.
Authorities have been taking steps in recent months to reduce the speculative growth of such currencies by prohibiting cryptocurrency exchanges for new trading accounts.
Kim Mok-yeon, Arirang News.