South Korea mulling ways to curb craze for bitcoins

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean is studying ways to regulate speculative trading in crypto currencies as the latest surge in prices stokes a craze over bitcoins.

South Korea's financial regulator said Friday that it ruled out using bitcoin for derivative products. The decision effectively bans investing in bitcoin futures that will start trading on the Chicago Board Options Exchange this weekend.

Young and older South Koreans, who tend to be tech savvy, are betting their part-time incomes and retirement packages on bitcoins and other virtual currencies. The country has just 50 million people but accounts for about one-fifth of global bitcoin trades.

Earlier this week, South Korea's justice ministry said it would consider ways to regulate crypto currency exchanges and devise stiff penalties for crimes related to such transactions.