Threats of a potential cryptocurrency trading ban in South Korea have scared many investors away, but some veterans of the young market are defiant, saying restrictions would be relatively easy to circumvent.
Although the cryptocurrency market lost about $200 billion this week, or a third of its value, these investors - known within the community as "hodlers" after a misspelled meme that went viral during Bitcoin's early days - are used to rollercoaster rides.
China's shutdown of local exchanges in September, for instance, caused a 50 percent drop in Bitcoin, but prices rebounded eight-fold to almost $20,000. Currently valued around $10,000, Bitcoin could be poised for a similar whirlwind this time around, some say.
"In case the government shuts down all local exchanges,investors can always go abroad and open an account there," said a South Korean student who declined to be named because of legal risks. "I can ask my friends who study abroad or travel there myself. It's not that big of a problem."
Cryptocurrency experts say the student probably has good reason to be relaxed. A ban could discourage new market entrants, but the anonymity of buyers and sellers and the ability to move digital assets anywhere in the world with a click makes it hard to impose restrictions on existing participants without a global consensus.
Places like Singapore and Hong Kong maintain light regulations, while neighboring Japan has encouraged a vast ecosystem of companies and investors around digital assets by pioneering a set of rules for the industry. Germany has said national restrictions may be useless.