including the nation's finance ministry and financial regulators. Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

Once enforced, South Korea’s ban “will make trading difficult here, but not impossible, Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example Japan.” said Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security.

There are more than a dozen cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, according to the Korea Block chain Industry Association. Bitcoin’s 1,500% surge since January 2017 has spurred huge demand from many demographics, from college students to housewives, stoking worries of a growing gambling addiction in the country.

By Thursday afternoon, more than 55,000 South Koreans had signed a petition asking the presidential Blue House to stop the crackdown on the virtual currency, bringing the government website to a halt.

South Korea to ban cryptocurrency trading.

South Korea's government has said it plans to ban cryptocurrency trading. This unforeseen development has thrown the virtual coin market in a tizzy.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” justice minister Park Sang-ki said.

A press official said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after 'enough discussion' with other government agencies