Regulators have two primary concerns when it comes to crypto-currencies. The first is anonymity. The second, which leads from the first, is money laundering.
As such, four exchanges in South Korea joined forces this week to combat such potential activity.
South Korea is one of the leading countries in the world in terms of crypto trading volume. It is home to some of the largest exchanges and the government has taken a pro-active stance towards regulation and encouragement of the industry.
One major issue, however, is still the threat of using crypto to launder money, which would be far easier than using banks due to the anonymity of many blockchain-based currencies.
The four exchange collaboration consists of Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and Upbit. They announced on Friday that they would create a new hotline in order to share information on suspicious transactions. The primary aim is to identify trading behavior associated with phishing, predatory lending, pyramid schemes and other illegal activities.
The alliance will also involve the operation of a shared database of suspicious wallet addresses that are flagged for spurious activity which could be related to scammers looking to use different exchanges in order to move large amounts of crypto-currency.
According to a joint press release, the anti-money laundering (AML) initiative is “expected to produce significant results as all four exchanges now employ effectual user protection and fraud detection practices.”
It added that the exchanges “have experience operating bank-authenticated virtual accounts, resulting in strong relationships with traditional financial institutions.”
The initiative follows motions by the Korea Blockchain Association to impose self-regulatory measures to oversee the activities of its members. The end goal is a safer trading environment with reduced criminal activity in the crypto industry.
Last June Korean regulators bolstered AML rules to require that domestic banks tighten up their monitoring of crypto-related bank accounts.
As reported recently by Coindesk Korea, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Korea Internet Development Agency surveyed the country’s crypto exchanges for potential security vulnerabilities. The results were quite revealing as only seven of 21 exchanges cleared all of the tests.
The remaining 14 were found to be “vulnerable to hacking attacks at all times because of poor security,” according to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.
South Korea is taking a serious stance with the crypto industry and, like Japan, the Seoul administration appears determined to keep things running by regulation rather than pushing it into a grey market operating sector, as has been seen in India and China.