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Morning News: Coinnest CEO in Court, Rivals Step In

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 3 min read

Prosecution Office Confirms Coinnest CEO Charges Bithumb and Upbit Start Trading Tron BitFlyer Snaps up Blockchain Firm Japanese Teen Arrested for Attempted Crypto Fraud

Catch up on the most essential cryptocurrency and blockchain news stories breaking in Asia and the Americas while the rest of the world was asleep.

S Korean Prosecution Office Confirms Coinnest CEO Charges
Coinnest CEO Kim Ik-hwan and three other cryptocurrency exchange senior executives and CEOs police detained earlier this week on fraud charges, have appeared in court in Seoul this morning. Prosecutors asked a judge in the Southern Seoul branch of the Supreme Court to issue formal arrest warrants. The court will deliver its verdict “later this evening,” per media outlet Newspim. The quartet, who work at Coinnest and one other as-yet-unnamed exchange, were held by police on fraud and embezzlement charges. The executives are thought to have misappropriated customer funds. The Korean Blockchain Association (KBA) has also moved to distance itself from Coinnest, claiming the exchange was no longer a member. The KBA is a self-regulatory body for South Korean exchanges with some 30 members, but says that Coinnest cancelled its membership in February, after declining to pay membership fees.

S Korean Exchanges Bithumb and Upbit Start Trading Tron
South Korea’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Bithumb and Upbit, have begun offering cryptocurrency Tron transactions – as rivalry between the two platforms intensifies. Some analysts have criticized the timing of the move – coming as news of the arrests at the Coinnest exchange platform were still breaking – with cynics saying Bithumb and Upbit’s moves were opportunistic. Coinnest has made a name for itself as one of South Korea’s major Tron traders. As part of a set of self-regulatory pledges made just a few months ago, South Korea’s exchanges agreed not to add new cryptocurrencies to their platforms’ offerings.
Bithumb per Aju News, announced it would soon be starting Tron in the early evening of April 5. But rival Upbit appeared to have stolen a march on it, when, only 30 minutes later it began offering Tron-to-Korean won/won-to-Tron transactions. Tron prices in the cryptocurrency have subsequently risen by almost 50% in the capital.

BitFlyer Snaps up Blockchain Firm, Will Operate it “as a Subsidiary”
BitFlyer, one of Japan’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, has announced it has bought up Tokyo-based blockchain startup Webnium. BitFlyer says it has acquired 100% of Webnium’s shares. No other details of the transaction were given. The startup specializes in real-time marketing and analytics solutions for blockchain and cryptocurrency trading, as well as web apps and design. BitFlyer says it will operate the company as a subsidy. The move comes at the end of a busy fortnight for BitFlyer, who last week struck a partnership with L’Operaio, a luxury car dealership – allowing auto customers to settle their bills in cryptocurrency via BitFlyer’s payment platform. BitFlyer has also recently announced the appointment of Tom Love, co-developer of the Objective-C programming language, in an advisory capacity.

Japanese Teen Arrested for Attempted Crypto Fraud
Police in Japan’s Nara Prefecture have charged a 19-year-old male second-year university student with cryptocurrency-related fraud. The student he allegedly attempted to capitalize on a major hack on Coincheck’s NEM wallets in January this year. Police say the student created a fake Coincheck Twitter handle on January 27 and posted a call to affected NEM holders, asking for payments of 0.02 BTC to be made to his own Bitcoin wallet to help free up NEM funds. The student is said to have deleted his posts within the hour, and police say that nobody fell for his rouse, with no financial damages incurred. Media outlet Sankei quotes the man as saying, “I just wanted to increase my bitcoin holdings. I didn’t think about it too deeply.”