In late January, it became known about the official ban by the South Korean authorities of anonymous transactions in cryptocurrencies, which entered into force on January 30. In accordance with the requirements of the Financial Services Commission of South Korea (FSC), six banks have pledged to establish an infrastructure for creating accounts with real names. However, as it turned out later, banks are not required to provide new services to clients of Cryptocurrency Exchanges.
“The creation of new accounts assigned to a currency exchange is a voluntary decision of the bank,” a banking industry official told the South Korean edition of Yonhap. He explains: “Banks that have legal obligations to prevent money laundering are checked only by internal procedures: confirmation of clients from the crypto exchange, stability of the system, protection of user information and compliance with anti-money laundering norms.”
Of the six banks mentioned earlier, only three – Shinhan Bank, Nonghyup Bank and Industrial Bank of Korea – provide accounts to customers of Crypto Exchanges. And only four of the 25 South Korean currency exchange exchanges changed anonymous accounts to accounts with real names. Thus, the new legislative requirements correspond to Bithumb, Upbit, Coinone and Korbit.
According to Asia Economic, Shinhan Bank, which serves Bithumb, also decided to temporarily exclude the exchange from the process of creating accounts with real names. The representative of the bank explained that this measure was taken in connection with the fact that “the exchange is checked by the police” in the case of last year’s robbery.
Small and medium-sized exchanges that provide corporate accounts, rather than virtual ones, regulate other requirements. According to the Yonhap publication, at the moment, the use of corporate accounts is allowed provided that the exchanges can fully support their obligations to prevent money laundering, as well as to confirm the identification of customers. In addition, they will be subjected to “thorough checks by banks and financial authorities.” However, many exchanges did not receive confirmation of new accounts and told Yonhap reporters that they would suspend transactions if the situation did not change. According to the Korean Blockchain Association, about 787,600 customers use the services of such exchanges, whose assets are currently in limbo.
Author: Richard Abermann