A Bitcoin exchange in South Korea said Monday that it will provide real-time market data on the virtual currency on its website starting this week.
So far, buyers and sellers have had access to only the latest transaction volume and value of Bitcoins, but now they will be able to monitor real-time market data streams on the cybercurrency, according to the currency exchange Korbit (www.korbit.co.kr
Bitcoin, a cryptography-based digital currency that advocates say is counterfeit proof, was introduced in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis by pseudonymous computer developer Satoshi Nakamoto.
Bitcoin, which can be traded online via a peer-to-peer payment network, has recently been in the spotlight after United States Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it may hold long-term promise as a possible means of exchange in the future.
But South Korea's top central banker had reservations about the currency and suggested a possibility of the non-legal tender being used for illegal transactions.
The value of Bitcoin has undergone high fluctuations of late, in tandem with assessments on the virtual money made by central banks around the globe.
France's central bank has warned against its use, saying that Bitcoin's value is highly volatile and that the virtual money is not regulated by authorities. China has also banned financial institutions from trading Bitcoins as the computer-generated money carry risks.
The Korean government, the central bank and the financial watchdog have said they would closely monitor possible money laundering and fake name transactions using Bitcoin since it is not seen as meeting the criteria for trading legitimate financial products.
A branch of Paris Baguette, the country's popular bakery franchise, in Incheon, west of Seoul, became the first off-line business in South Korea to accept Bitcoins earlier this month. (Yonhap News)