South Korean Exchange Bithumb Blocks Trading in 11 Countries

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South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has announced that it will block trading in 11 countries as part of its revised internal regulations aimed to prevent money laundering using its system. Foreign users will also need to undergo a stricter verification process.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Preventing Money Laundering

South Korean Exchange Bithumb Blocks Trading in 11 CountriesBithumb announced on Sunday that its internal regulations have been revised in order to prevent money laundering activities using its system, according to local media. Business Korea elaborated:

With growing concerns over money laundering through cryptocurrency trading, Bithumb, South Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, will ban digital asset trading with investors in North Korea, Iran, Iraq, and eight other countries that are considered as high-risk jurisdictions by the Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT) Initiative.

At the time of this writing, Bithumb’s 24-hour trading volume has overtaken Upbit’s, standing at about $250.41 million. The Kakao-backed exchange Upbit’s trading volume for the same time period is approximately $235.1 million, according to Coinmarketcap.

South Korean Exchange Bithumb Blocks Trading in 11 CountriesTo prevent the inflow of funds relating to “international terrorism and crime,” users from NCCT countries “shall be blocked,” Bithumb wrote, adding that new members from these countries will not be accepted and existing members will be blocked from the 21st.

Bithumb says it is self-enforcing these strict rules to foster the transparent cryptocurrency market and investor protection. “We will cooperate with the government” and follow self-regulatory measures based on the policies introduced by the Korean Blockchain Association, the exchange emphasized. The Korean Blockchain Association is spearheading self-regulation among crypto exchanges in the country. Bithumb’s revised internal regulations reflect “the government’s recommendations and the Korean Blockchain Association’s recommendations,” Korea Economic Daily elaborated.

Blocking 11 Countries

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an intergovernmental organization on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.

South Korean Exchange Bithumb Blocks Trading in 11 CountriesThe NCCT are countries the FATF has “recognized as regions with insufficient policies and regulations to restrict money laundering and the utilization of various forms of money to finance illegal operations, including North Korea, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka,” Business Korea described.

According to Bithumb’s website, the other countries are Serbia, Ethiopia, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

“The 11 countries monitored by the NCCT Initiative” will be banned, the news outlet reiterated, noting that Bithumb made this decision “to prevent its infrastructure and platform from being used to launder money and any international finance terror or criminal activities.” The publication added:

Bithumb will soon request foreign users to endure a mobile verification process to ensure users cannot deceive the platform by falsifying personal information and residential address starting from next month.

What do you think of Bithumb’s revised rules? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Al Monitor, and Bithumb.


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