Hours Before South Korean Registration Deadline, Only 10 Exchanges Have Applied

Virtual asset service providers rush to file their documents before midnight tonight.

Sep 24, 2021 at 6:06 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 24, 2021 at 3:35 p.m. UTC

Only 10 out of dozens of crypto exchanges in South Korea have registered with local authorities before the clock runs out on them on Friday, a notice on the regulator’s website shows.

  • In April, the country’s Financial Services Commission mandated that all virtual asset service providers in South Korea register with its anti-money laundering arm, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), by Sept. 24. Full registration requires security certification as well as partnerships with banks for real-name verification accounts.
  • Exchanges have been racing to file their documents. Five, Flat Thai X, Gdac, Graybridge, OK-BIT and Praban submitted yesterday, along with custodian Gameper.
  • Only the country’s four biggest exchanges – Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit and Upbit – have closed deals for real-name verification accounts with banks. Those are necessary for exchanges to offer Korean won (KRW) trading pairs and payment options.
  • Three exchanges – Gdac, Gopax and Huobi Korea, which have all been negotiating with banks up to the last minute – failed to secure the partnerships and will be halting KRW trading effective tonight, CoinDesk Korea reported. On Thursday, ProBit and Problegate did the same.
  • Another 18 exchanges are expected to submit filings on Friday, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. Around 40 exchanges have given no indication on whether they plan to register and will likely cease operations on Friday, the agency reported.
  • Three major global exchanges limited their exposure to the country starting with Binance in August, followed by BitMEX and Bybit this month.
  • BitMEX and Bybit did so by removing Korean language from their platforms. The FIU has said that an exchange’s Korean language support will be considered when deciding if it can offer services in the country.

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Eliza Gkritsi is a CoinDesk news reporter based in Asia.