Fears of a possible ban on cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea has led to a sharp drop in the capitalization of the whole cryptocurrency market. It lost almost $100 billion in two hours.

On 11 January, South Korean Justice Minister Park Sang-ki said that the ministry was preparing a decree banning trade in virtual currencies on Korean exchanges.

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

After an impressive market reaction, with the average bitcoin rate falling by $2,000 to $13 105, the South Korean president's administration stated that such a ban is just one of the possible regulatory measures. Even if the decree is sent to Parliament for consideration, the document will have to receive the votes of the majority of 297 deputies for approval. As noted by Reuters, this process can take months and even years.

The minister's statement aroused a violent reaction from the cryptocurrency community in the network, and many of them tried to calm their readers.

"Don't panic. The South Korean government has been preparing a #cryptocurrency exchange closure bill since December 13, to shut down any exchange that is *not compliant* with regulations. The gov't already said it intends to regulate/foster the market," analyst Joseph Young wrote in his Twitter.

Currently, the capitalization of the cryptocurrency market continues its gradual growth, reaching already $676 billion after a sharp drop to $628 billion.