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‘Arbitrary’ Ruling May ‘Force South Korean Crypto Exchanges to Close’

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

South Korean crypto-related firms said they are concerned that banks are being given too much power by the country’s financial regulators.

Source: Adobe/kian yong tan/EyeEm

In the latest regulatory rulings unveiled this week, regulators stated that banks would be obliged to decide whether or not they want to do business with crypto exchanges using their own anti money-laundering (AML) risk assessment processes.

The move will mean banks have the final say on which exchanges ultimately receive regulatory permission to operate – as unbanked exchanges will be unable to obtain operating permits under the new law.

But the latest ruling has angered much of the nation’s crypto community.

Blockchain consultant Mira Kim told,

“There are a lot of angry people in the South Korean crypto sector right now. A lot of crypto exchanges feel that they’re essentially surrendering their fates to the whim of big banks. And those big banks are also getting their own way with crypto custody, too. It seems really unfair for a lot of exchanges to allow banks to just tell them arbitrarily, ‘Sorry, we don’t think you are worth taking a risk on.’”

And per Seoul Finance, an official at an unnamed domestic crypto exchange warned,

“If the banks refuse to do business with exchanges, they will be forced to close down.”

The new rules, which come into force next year, also appear to allow banks to make their rulings without having to justify their decisions to applicant exchanges.

Both Kim and the experts interviewed by Seoul Finance opined that while bigger exchanges that already abide by the strictest of bank-issued AML policies will likely be safe, small and medium-sized platforms are most at risk from the new measures.

The same media outlet quoted an unnamed official at a domestic commercial bank as conceding,

“As the banking sector is naturally conservative about working with new businesses, internally, we have no choice but to look more carefully at the potential risks of dealing with new clients than the potential benefits for the bank.”

Learn more:
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