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Bitcoin Slumps After South Korea Explores Banning Exchanges. So Why Is Ripple Up?

Ripple hung on while other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Litecoin followed bitcoin's tumble, after South Korea strengthened cryptocurrency rules. Chesnot Getty Images

Ripple was a rare exception to the cryptocurrency bloodbath Thursday.

While the price of digital assets such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin all slumped Thursday on news that South Korea would begin requiring real-name cryptocurrency transactions and would consider banning some exchanges, Ripple continued to all-time highs.

Bitcoin prices fell roughly 8% to $14,200, Ethereum shed 4% to $725, while Litecoin dropped 11% to $240. But in the same period Ripple, which currently holds a market value of about $55.5 billion when accounting for all coins in circulation, has remained steady. At a challenging time for cryptocurrencies it eked out a gain of over 1% to $1.44 per piece—a rise of about 20% during the week.

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Ripple, which was designed for banks and global money transfers, has surged this year, rising roughly 23,900% to become the world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency, according to coinmarketcap, a digital currency data information service.

Ripple’s recent rise can likely be attributed to Japan, a nation that has been outwardly friendly toward cryptocurrencies. Earlier this month, Nikkei reported that Japan and South Korean banks were using Ripple to test international funds transfers in a bid to cut costs by 30%. The test involved 61 Japanese banks. And more recently SBI Holdings, a Tokyo-based financial services group, said that its subsidiary SBI Ripple Asia had established a partnership with some of the nation’s largest credit card providers (JCB, Credit Saison, and Mitsui Sumitomo Card) to look into distributed ledger technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

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