South Korean authorities seized $47M in cryptocurrency from tax evaders.

June 23, 2021

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One of the country’s largest tax seizures was carried out by officials in the South Korean province of Gyeonggi. According to the Financial Times, the months-long inquiry resulted in the seizure of $47 million in Ethereum, Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies.


Officials linked the activities of 12,000 tax evaders on cryptocurrency exchanges to their phone numbers, resulting in the seizure of cash. Because many exchanges did not gather official identification of account users, investigators had to comb through this data manually. The report did not specify which exchanges were investigated.


One of the main factors behind South Korea’s recent regulatory crackdown has been exchanges’ lack of official KYC identification.


The National Assembly of South Korea passed a law in March 2020 requiring local exchanges to follow the Financial Action Task Force’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing rules (FATF). Crypto firms, notably exchanges, must also acquire approval from the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Korea Internet and Security Agency before September 24, 2021.


New standards for identifying users are included in this law, as well as clarification on which assets can be reported. A project’s coin may be delisted if it has low volume, is idle development, or lacks a clear route of communication with its crew.


Upbit, one of South Korea’s “big four” crypto exchanges, has already begun delisting some coins. The platform was also one of the first in South Korea to receive regulatory permission to continue functioning.


Compliance has been problematic for smaller exchanges. This is because platforms must partner with a bank to obtain a license. Banks, on the other hand, have been hesitant to partner with cryptocurrency exchanges, resulting in an “existential dilemma,” according to one exchange operator.



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