Bitcoin (BTC-USD) continues to drop on Friday, adding to earlier losses on the news that South Korea could ban bitcoin trading, but remains well above its Thursday lows. In the meantime, Ethereum (ETH-USD) reached a new record high this week and continues to perform well, while Ripple (XRP-USD) is giving back some of Thursday's gains. And altcoin Stellar (XLM-USD) is soaring higher after retreating from its all-time high earlier this week.

With that in mind, here's a rundown of the latest prices and news in the cryptocurrency world.

Today's cryptocurrency prices

Here's a look at the 10 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization and how much each has changed over the past 24 hours, as well as over the past week.

Cryptocurrency Name (Code)

Price in U.S. Dollars

Day's Changs

7-Day Change

Bitcoin (BTC)




Ethereum (ETH)




Ripple (XRP)




Bitcoin Cash (BCH)




Cardano (ADA)




Litecoin (LTC)








Stellar (XLM)












Data Source: Prices and daily changes as of Jan. 12, 2018, at 11 a.m. EST, and prices are rounded to the nearest cent where appropriate.

It's been an interesting week in the cryptocurrency world. Leading currency bitcoin (BTC-USD) dropped more than 15% on fears that South Korea could ban bitcoin trading, while Ethereum (ETH-USD) hit a fresh all-time high and regained its spot as the second-largest cryptocurrency, and continues to look strong even after dropping on the South Korea news as well.

Ripple (XRP-USD) had an up-and-down week, initially falling after soaring to record highs last week, but recovering some of its lost ground on Thursday after it announced a new partnership with money transfer giant MoneyGram.

Finally, while several altcoins such as bitcoin cash and Litecoin had a relatively quiet week, some of the altcoins that entered 2018 with the highest momentum -- namely Cardano, NEM, Stellar, and Tron -- have fluctuated wildly during the past week.

South Korea bitcoin fears have subsided a bit

Bitcoin (BTC-USD) took a big dive on Thursday after South Korea's Justice Minister announced that a bill was in the works that would effectively ban cryptocurrency trading in the country.

Stacks of gold coins with bitcoin symbol.

Image source: Getty Images.

At its lowest, bitcoin dropped by more than 12% on the news, and Ethereum (ETH-USD) tumbled even worse. The initial knee-jerk reaction was certainly understandable. After all, South Korea is the third-largest cryptocurrency market in the world, in terms of trading volume.

However, it seems that the news isn't as much of an immediate threat as it seemed. According to Reuters, South Korea's presidential office said that the plan hadn't been finalized and is just one of the things being considered to deal with the nation's worries about the volatile cryptocurrency markets. Reuters also reported that even if a bill to ban trading was introduced, it "could take months or even years" to pass.

Furthermore, The New York Times reports that several South Korean political leaders have already expressed their opposition to banning cryptocurrency trading.

High-momentum altcoins

In a Jan. 3 article, I wrote that altcoins Cardano and Stellar (XLM-USD) had gained 155% and 301%, respectively, in just one week. Cardano (ADA-USD) surged on investor interest in its scalable and secure blockchain network, while Stellar soared on speculation that it was gaining real-world payment processing traction.

Well, both coins fell sharply afterward, and have rebounded somewhat over the past couple of days. Cardano peaked at about $1.14 on Jan. 4, and then rapidly lost 40% of its value before rebounding to its current price. Stellar peaked at about $0.89 on Jan. 3 after an incredible run in 2017, and has since given back about 25% of its gains, but is up 18% on Friday.

Finally, EOS, which was created to compete with Ethereum (ETH-USD), is the newest entrant into the top 10, soaring 24% on Friday.