With interest increasing toward the digital currency market, in particular bitcoin, South Korea’s prime minister has warned that it could tempt children into illegal activities.
In a statement posted after a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, issued his thoughts on the cryptocurrency market. In a translated copy from CNBC, it reads:
There are cases in which young Koreans including students are jumping in to make quick money and virtual currencies are used in illegal activities like drug dealing or multi-level marketing for frauds.
He added that if the matter was left unaddressed it could lead to ‘serious distortion or social pathological phenomena.’
The prime minister’s comments come at a time when the digital currency market has been experiencing a record surge in value. Just yesterday, it was reported that bitcoin had scaled the $11,000 barrier for the first time, pushing its market cap to $185.6 billion.
At the time, the combined crypto market was valued at $338.5 billion, just shy of reaching JPMorgan’s $343 billion market cap. However, at the time of publishing, recent market volatility and a major selloff has seen market prices take a hit, most notably bitcoin. According to CoinMarketCap, it is currently trading at $9,826, pushing its market cap down to $164.2 billion.
Before the digital currency’s drop in value, CNBC’s Jim Cramer, the host of ‘Mad Money,’ was reported as stating that bitcoin’s rapid rise is a sign that its surge is ‘parabolic‘ and that its rally won’t last long.
Speaking just after bitcoin reached $11,000, Cramer said:
Even if you believe in bitcoin, the velocity of the move is a sign that it is parabolic. And parabolic moves don’t last.
Trader Art Cashin, UBS director of floor operations at the New York Stock Exchange, echoed these same thoughts earlier this week. On Monday, Cashin stated that ‘bitcoin has gone parabolic,’ adding that it had some at the Federal Reserve worried. He said:
I think we’re in the fear-of-missing-out phase now.
South Korean regulators have remained cautious of the cryptocurrency market. As a result, the country’s Financial Services Commission banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), which followed similar restrictions imposed upon by China.
The idea that the digital currency could push children and students toward illegal activities is far-reaching and simply an attempt to further tarnish bitcoin’s name. After all, there’s nothing stopping them from simply using cash to perform illegal activities as well.
Featured image from Shutterstock.