At press time, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap is trading for roughly $6,800. This is about $200 less than where it’s been over the past 48 hours, and a drop of roughly three percent.
One of the reasons for the recent drop may be China, which is continuing its crackdown of bitcoin and cryptocurrency-based businesses within the region. In the Guangzhou province, for example, all crypto-promotion activities have been banned. The news comes after Chinese technology enterprise Baidu was forced to shut down all its crypto-based online chat rooms earlier this week.
In addition, Russia is also working to seal crypto’s fate by making all unauthorized cryptocurrency business “criminal.” The country is looking to potentially track cryptocurrency transactions – especially those in bitcoin – while banning all forms of crypto not backed by fiat.
German Klimenko – former advisor to President Vladimir Putin – states:
“Due to anonymity and the inability to find correct sources of transactions, cryptocurrencies are used in gray areas… Lawmakers in many countries are concerned about this phenomenon which was confirmed by the analysis that we conducted on behalf of the president.”
Then Again, There Are Some Free Spirits…
By contrast, South Korea seems to be doing everything in its power to make itself the continent’s leading crypto hub. South Korea has had a relatively mixed relationship with cryptocurrency. In the beginning, digital assets and South Korea were like two peas in a pod. Roughly 25 percent of all cryptocurrency transactions occurred within the region, and digital coins often sold at higher prices on South Korean exchanges than they did elsewhere due to their popularity and heightened demand.
The nation’s regulators have since garnered a hostile attitude towards crypto, banning all initial coin offerings (ICOs) and threatening to do the same with digital exchanges. Sentiment has since changed once again as officials are seeking an environment where cryptocurrencies are controlled and regulated appropriately instead of outright banned. They also say they are reexamining their decision regarding ICOs.
Is the Public Responsible for the Switch?
The cryptocurrency market in South Korea grew by over 100 percent in 2016, while the country’s national currency – the South Korean won – is the third most traded fiat currency for bitcoin, just behind the U.S. dollar and Japan’s yen.
The changes likely come by way of public involvement in crypto. A new report suggests that as much as 33 percent of adults in South Korea either own or are invested in digital assets such as bitcoin and Ethereum, while the nation’s youth is not that far off either. Data states that nearly 23 percent – almost one-quarter – of people in their 20s in South Korea own digital currency, more than in any other nation.
U.S. Youth Is Catching Up
However, this may change soon according to a new survey conducted by Coinbase, the United States’ leading digital currency exchange. The survey suggests that approximately 18 percent of U.S.-based students either own – or have owned – cryptocurrency at some point, and digital currency’s popularity among students and young people appears to be growing… So much, in fact, that many colleges and universities are having to make special arrangements for the growing number of enrollees in both bitcoin and blockchain-based courses.
Representatives of Coinbase offered the following story when describing students’ expanding interest in crypto:
“When David Yermack, the finance department chair at the New York University Stern School of Business, first offered his course on blockchain and financial services in 2014, 35 students signed up, eight fewer than the school’s typical elective. By spring of 2018, the number of enrolled students climbed to 230, forcing Stern to move the class to its largest auditorium.”