South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, Bithumb, has banned trading in 11 countries around the world due to money laundering concerns. Monday’s announcement stated that countries that have not done enough to combat the use of cryptos in criminal activities will no longer have the ability to join and use Bithumb. This has affected 11 countries, and their users’ accounts will be disabled starting June 21st.
Bithumb denies services to 11 countries
Due to concerns about cryptocurrencies being used for criminal activities like money laundering and funding terrorism, the biggest exchange of South Korea, Bithumb, is denying services to the countries deemed most critical in this aspect. The exchange made an announcement on Monday, May 28th, that this step is an attempt to comply with the global anti-money laundering initiative.
The exchange will block all transactions of those living in countries that were blacklisted as Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories (NCCT). The FATF (Financial Action Task Force) has deemed 11 countries as non-cooperative, including North Korea, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, and Tunisia.
These countries are believed not to be safe for the use of cryptos due to the high possibility that their laws could allow for the illegal use of digital currencies. Issues like money laundering and financing terrorist organizations are the biggest concerns and threats to the financial system on an international scale.
The listed countries no longer have access to Bithumb, and this ban took effect on Sunday, May 27th. Residents of these countries that have already been a part of Bithumb have until June 21st to get their affairs in order, before their accounts are disabled.
Bithumb improves its own anti-money laundering policies
Bithumb is the fifth largest crypto exchange in the world and the largest one in Korea, with a daily token trade of up to $400 million in value.
According to their statement, they have been working on their policies regarding the anti-money laundering initiative. They implemented the South Korean government’s recommendations on how to improve their business practices including those of Korea’s Blockchain Association. This is a relatively new body, established back in December 2017. It introduced numerous measures designed to prevent illegal use of digital coins, and set out ethical codes to improve transparency in the crypto market.
Their efforts include strict rules that were brought in so that market manipulation and issues like insider trading would be prevented. It is only a matter of time before Korea’s exchanges are evaluated, which is yet another reason for Bithumb’s latest decision.
A Bithumb spokesperson said that the exchange’s own rules will be strictly enforced so that their investors will be protected, showing they are more than willing to cooperate with Korea’s authorities.
It is also believed that this decision was partially inspired by multiple money laundering incidents reported in Japan. Cryptos like Monero, Zcash, and Dash were used for flushing out millions of dollars for various criminal activities. The immediate consequences included the exclusion of these three cryptos from various platforms, which has also placed anonymous cryptos under a negative spotlight.