Ripple Crashes to 2018 Lows Amid Lingering Doubts Over South Korean Regulation

Ripple took the plunge on Monday, falling to its lowest level in nearly three weeks as investors continued to ponder South Korea’s regulatory shakeup of the cryptocurrency market.

XRP/USD Price Levels

Ripple’s native XRP token touched a session low of $1.47 on Monday, which represented a decline of more than 16%. The coin’s price was last seen hovering at $1.58 for a loss of 10%.

XRP briefly traded at its lowest level since Dec. 29. The token is currently testing the Jan. 11 low of around $1.57.

At present values, Ripple is capitalized at $62 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. That’s roughly half of Ethereum, the world’s no. 2 digital currency system. Ripple had briefly claimed the second spot in the crypto charts before a brisk selloff knocked it from record highs.

Ripple ran into volatility last week after CoinMarketCap removed several South Korean exchanges from its listing due to “extreme divergences in prices from the rest of the world.” The action prompted a multi-billion-dollar selloff of XRP, which is traded heavily on the Korean peninsula.

Why is Ripple Plunging?

It has been a roller coaster two months for Ripple. The cryptocurrency has managed to distance itself from other altcoins thanks to growing institutional support from major banks, credit cards and clearing houses. News of major partnerships sent XRP north of $3.30 after New Year’s day. The gains were quickly followed by profit-taking that was followed by a sharp correction in the cryptocurrency market.

The latest drop is largely attributed to fears over pending South Korean regulations governing cryptocurrency. Hacked reported earlier that central authorities were looking to shut down anonymous trading on domestic exchanges, not ban cryptocurrencies entirely.

The initial shockwave was triggered by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki, who announced Thursday that his department was proposing a bill to regulate the crypto market. The Korean government later said it was considering a response to what it believes to be excessive speculation, but had not reached a decision.

Like other cryptocurrencies, Ripple’s record-breaking gains have been largely driven by South Korean trade desks. Of the nearly $2 billion in XRP tokens transacted Monday, roughly 55% were traded using the won, according to CoinMarketCap. Bithumb continues to be the biggest platform for XRP trades, followed by Upbit and HitBTC. Bithumb and Upbit are both based in South Korea.

It hasn’t been entirely negative for Ripple. The company recently announced a partnership with MoneyGram that will provide the remittance firm with instant liquidity. The partnership appears to be a pilot program, with MoneyGram testing XRP payment flows via xRapid, the cryptocurrency’s blockchain solution for real-time liquidity.

XRP has the ability to settle transactions within seconds, thereby enabling faster cross-border flows. Its potential is currently being explored across Asia’s financial district, giving XRP the unofficial distinction of being the banker’s cryptocurrency.

Ripple’s fundamentals as a transaction agent suggest it still has room to grow in a highly diverse cryptocurrency market. There’s also speculation that U.S.-based exchange Coinbase is considering XRP for its platform. The exchange only supports four cryptocurrencies at the moment, including bitcoin, Ethereum, bitcoin cash and Litecoin.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Author:
Chief Editor to Hacked.com and Contributor to CCN.com, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi