South Korea & Bitcoin Mania

In the recent bitcoin hype, one of the Asian countries has gone particularly wild.

Students in South Korea are checking the price between classes, workers are trading it during coffee drinking, and grandparents are playing on digital coins at home.

Virtual currencies might be a fringe play elsewhere — but in South Korea, they’re mainstream. The country is home to three of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges. On any given day, South Korea accounts for as much as 20% of all bitcoin trades around the world.

The coin has seen a great jump of 1,500% this year, reaching to $17,000, due to the fact that more and more people have bought into it.

Family investors show their readiness to pay a higher price, hoping that the virtual currency will go on with jumping rise.

“They see it as gambling in some ways, they try to earn more money by using exchanges,” said Kim Duyoung, a manager at bitcoin brokerage Coinplug.

Some bitcoin exchanges in Korea such as Bithumb, have moved beyond their online beginnings, and opened storefronts to make trading in virtual money easier.

A middle-aged woman called Im MI-ae, who came into one Bithumb store recently, is the type of customers who wants to use the online trading tool.

“I started a month ago,” she said. “I had someone I know who told me that this is good and that I should try it. That’s why I’m doing it.”

With so many small investors diving in, authorities are getting worried about the potential impact of a crash.

Last week the country’s government informed about forming a special task force to study the “cryptocurrency issue.”

Have to note, that there is a fear from South Korean government, because virtual currencies are arming North Korea with new financial weapons. It comes obvious, that hackers can easily steal and launder funds.

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