Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea, the world’s third-largest digital-currency market, is a huge deal.
So huge, in fact, that when authorities last week raided the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on suspicion of tax-dodging, and when the government proposed a bill to ban “all local virtual currency exchanges,” the global cryptocurrency market took a nosedive.
Since then, more than 220,000 people have signed an online petition against the proposed plan that they say infringes on their “happy dream” of cryptocurrency trading, something that has eluded them “until now.”
“Buying my own home is difficult in South Korea, I don’t know how I could even buy one,” the petition says. “I don’t know how I could live doing the things that I want to do.”
After what some have deemed the crypto “bloodbath,” users on the South Korean online community DC Inside displayed their frustrations by posting profanity-laced stories and uploading images of broken items that they said resulted from their anger over the valuations.
Though the user comments and images may be amusing for some, it underscores the implications of the South Korean government’s approach to cryptocurrencies, especially for those who have invested heavily in the market.
Cryptocurrency trading in South Korea is a lucrative venture. An estimated 11% of people aged 15 to 29 are unemployed in the country, and the lump-sum deposit for an apartment skyrocketed by 73% from 2007 to 2016, according to government officials.
Here’s how some traders reacted: