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Here’s Why Bitcoin and Ethereum Are Falling Today, but Ripple Is Soaring

Matthew Frankel, The Motley Fool

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) and Ethereum (ETH-USD) were both in the red Thursday morning after major cryptocurrency market South Korea announced that it was gearing up to ban cryptocurrency trading.

While cryptocurrencies across the board initially slid, many of the altcoins have recovered or even risen, led by Ripple (XRP-USD), which was up by more than 18% as of 10:30 a.m. EST. Here's a rundown of the latest cryptocurrency prices, the pending South Korean legislation, and the new partnership that is sending Ripple higher.

Today's cryptocurrency prices

Here's a look at the 10 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

Cryptocurrency Name (Code)

Price (U.S. Dollars)

Change in Past 24 Hours

Bitcoin (BTC-USD)

$13,977

(1.6%)

Ethereum (ETH-USD)

$1,225.20

(8.5%)

Ripple (XRP-USD)

$2.14

18.2%

Bitcoin Cash (BCH)

$2,621.60

(1.5%)

Cardano (ADA)

$0.74

6.3%

NEM (XEM)

$1.36

4%

Litecoin (LTC)

$237.46

0.2%

Stellar (XLM)

$0.55

10.5%

IOTA (MIOTA)

$3.48

1.1%

Dash (DASH)

$1,051.77

2.8%

Data Source: www.investing.com. Prices and daily changes as of 10:30am EST on January 11, 2018, and prices are rounded to the nearest cent where appropriate.

Bitcoin and Ethereum fall on potential South Korean ban

After it was reported that the South Korean Ministry of Justice is preparing a bill that would effectively ban cryptocurrency trading on exchanges, bitcoin (BTC-USD) prices initially dropped by about 6%.

Gold coins with bitcoin symbol in stacks.

Image Source: Getty Images.

To be clear, we don't know the full details of the proposed legislation yet, but it does not look good. Such a ban would likely result in a big loss of trading volume, as South Korea is the world's third most active cryptocurrency marketplace, accounting for about 5% of bitcoin trading volume and 10% of Ethereum (ETH-USD) trading volume, which could explain why Ethereum is getting hit particularly hard Thursday.

This news coincidentally comes a day after JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon voiced his concern about what governments would do when cryptocurrencies started becoming too big.

Ripple scores another major partnership

Ripple (XRP-USD) was one of the best-performing cryptocurrecies of late 2017 and during the first week of 2018, mainly due to optimism about the digital currency's traction among financial companies. Ripple's technology is being adopted by several major financial institutions, and the company has partnerships with American Express and Santander to help facilitate rapid and inexpensive international money transfers.

Well, it was announced on Thursday that Ripple will also partner with MoneyGram. The U.S. money transfer giant will use Ripple's xRapid payment network to make its processes faster and more cost efficient.

It appears that the news is also giving several other altcoins a jolt. After major rallies last week, Cardano, NEM, and Stellar coins had been falling. However, the Ripple news may have created renewed optimism that these other digital currencies, each of which has its individual advantages over bitcoin, will continue to gain real-world traction as well.

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Matthew Frankel owns shares of American Express. The Motley Fool recommends American Express. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.