Four major South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are teaming up to fight money laundering and malicious actors in the cryptospace, according to a January 28 article from Yonhap News Agency.
Crypto exchanges Bithumb, Upbit, Korbit, and Coinone have launched a "hotline" that allows them to share information about "unusual trading or transactions" that could involve money laundering or other criminal activities, such as "voice phishing and pyramid schemes."
The hotline is intended to allow each exchange to instantly identify suspicious transactions on other exchanges so that it can, if needed, close or temporarily suspend accounts related to suspicious activity.
The exchanges believe this joint step against money laundering via cryptocurrencies will "boost the soundness of the industry and … better protect consumers." The effectiveness of the hotline remains to be seen, but collaboration between these exchanges is a significant step.
With a 24-hour trading volume of $1,398,291,506 (as of press), Bithumb is one of South Korea's biggest and most popular exchanges. Despite Bithumb's recent negative press – last summer's hack of Bithumb wallets and then the recent allegations of wash trading – the exchange may prove to be a vital participant in this initiative.
The Upbit crypto exchange was established in 2017 and has a reported 24-hour trading volume of $147,714,355 (as of press). In November 2018, Upbit was the top exchange in South Korea by volume and was awarded an information security management system license from the Korea Internet and Security Agency. This license came only months after the exchange was raided in May 2018 by South Korean officials to investigate allegations that Upbit told investors it had more cryptocurrency than it actually did.
Korbit, ranked Korea's largest exchange in August 2016, has a reported 24-hour trading volume of $7,858,044 (as of press). In May 2018, the exchange decided to delist privacy coins under apparent pressure from the Korean government.
Launched in November 2018, Coinone has a reported 24-hour trading volume of $10,672,108 (as of press). In January 2018, Coinone's parent company Tu Namu – which also owns the other three mentioned exchanges – was fined by Korean regulators for failing to properly protect customer data.