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Korean Exchanges in Limbo over Customer Social Security Nos Conundrum

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Confusion reigns as to whether South Korean crypto exchanges can – or should – collect their customers’ social security numbers under new Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance measures that come into force in a matter of months.

Source: Adobe/Of The Village

Per Digital Today, exchanges are still uncertain of their legal obligations on this front, despite the fact that many of them have already built up their compliance infrastructure in preparation for policing from financial regulators.

Virtual asset service providers (VASPs) will be obliged to confirm the real names of their customers under a clause of the new legal amendment, which comes into force in March 2021.

However, although the financial regulator that will police exchanges advises firms that the Act on Real Name Financial Transactions and Confidentiality specifies that a person’s “real name” should be confirmed by checking against the name and social security number issued on citizen ID cards, a separate piece of legislation appears to contradict this advice.

The Personal Information Protection Act stipulates that firms may not request their clients to divulge social security numbers except in exceptional circumstances. These currently include major banking-related operations.

But as crypto exchanges have, legally speaking, more in common with e-commerce platforms than financial institutions like banks, legal experts appear to be baffled as to whether or not exchanges can or should request customers to provide this form of personal data as part of their new KYC and AML compliance protocols. E-commerce platforms are forbidden from making social security number requests under the aforementioned law.

The report concludes that such issues may well be addressed in separate crypto industry-specific legislation – but discussion on a proposed Virtual Assets Business Rights Bill have yet to begin in earnest, with just six months to go before the new policing measures come into effect.
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