Largest South Korean Crypto Exchange Bans Trading in Iran, North Korea, 9 More

May 28, 2018

Bithumb, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea by volume, has reportedly made the decision to ban digital asset trading in eleven countries, including North Korea, Sri Lanka, Iran, and Iraq. All of the countries listed in the ban have been classified as high-risk jurisdictions by the NCCT (Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories) Initiative.

The decision was explained by Bithumb as an attempt to prevent its platform from being used to fund criminal activities and for money laundering.

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Starting on May 28, no new users will be accepted from the 11 countries; current users who reside in the banned countries will reportedly have their accounts closed by June 21.

Bithumb will also be ramping up its security measures by implementing a mobile verification process for users based outside of South Korea. The measure is intended to reduce the presence of identity fraud on the platform.

Bithumb Plans to ‘Increase Transparency’ and ‘Protect Investors’

A representative from Bithumb explained that “the Bithumb team will voluntarily impose strict policies and cooperate closely with local financial authorities to increase the transparency in the cryptocurrency market and protect investors.”

The move is apparently also intended to improve general blockchain industry practices: “with progressive voluntary policies, Bithumb will improve the global standard of cryptocurrency exchanges.”

The countries have been classified as high-risk regions by the NCCT because the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) have identified the countries as areas with inadequate legal codes and policies to prevent money laundering and other kinds of illicit financial activities on a larger scale.

The announcement of the ban had little (if any) effect on the cryptocurrency markets. At press time, EOS was the most-traded cryptocurrency on Bithumb, followed by TRON and Bitcoin. $421,818,166 worth of cryptocurrency in total had been traded on the exchange within the last 24 hours.

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