The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb will stop offering its services to residents of 11 countries, according to a May 27 announcement on the company's site.
The statement described the move as part of an attempt to enhance Bithumb's existing anti-money laundering (AML) efforts by blocking all transactions that involve customers based in non-cooperative countries and territories (NCCT).
The list of NCCTs is maintained by the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization, which determines whether a country has succeeded or failed in complying with AML standards. The nations to be affected by this suspension of service are North Korea, Iran, Ethiopia, Iraq, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Vanuatu, Yemen, and Syria.
The exchange related that it has stopped registering new members from the recalcitrant jurisdictions and that "existing members will be blocked" from using the platform's services starting June 21.
In the statement, Bithumb, which has previously found itself in regulators' sights, pledged to continue cooperating "with the authorities," promising additional know-your-customer and AML action. It added that by implementing its own in-house rules and investor protection strategies, it would prove itself to be a world leader in cryptocurrency exchange regulation.
In mid-December 2017, Bithumb found itself the subject of punitive measures after the Korea Communications Commission determined that it "did not comply with protective steps, making it vulnerable to hacks and causing leaks of personal data and financial damage."
Later that month, the Ministry of Science and Technology recommended that Bithumb and several other Korean exchanges take steps to boost their platforms' security and instructed them to apply for "2018 Information Security Management System Certification."
In January, the news outlet Yonhap reported that Bithumb was under investigation by the National Tax Service, which sent at least one official to conduct a field survey at the company's headquarters.
On May 13, it emerged that South Korea's Financial Services Commission was investigating certain bank accounts linked to cryptocurrency exchanges, including Bithumb.
Translations by Google.