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South Korean watchdog seeks to bring cryptocurrency exchanges under direct regulation

Wed, 07 Aug 2019, 11:24 am UTC

The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) intends to bring cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country directly under the regulatory system, Business Korea reported.

KoFIU is the primary executive agency responsible for implementing an effective Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) regime in Korea. It operates under the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Currently, the agency regulates cryptocurrency exchanges in an indirect manner through administrative guidance to banks. It has now revealed its plan to directly regulate cryptocurrency exchanges.

In line with the recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the government plans to introduce a “cryptocurrency exchange licensing system” in order to increase the transparency of cryptocurrency transactions, an FIU official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a public hearing on the enactment of a law to enhance the transparency of crypto transaction, Lee Tae-hoon, head of administration and planning at the FIU, said:

“If an amendment to the Act on Reporting and Use of Certain Financial Transaction Information, which reflects the FATF’s international standards for cryptocurrencies, passes the National Assembly, it will be possible to prevent money laundering through cryptocurrencies.

“If the amendment is approved by lawmakers, we can raise the effectiveness of regulations by shifting from the current indirect regulation through commercial banks to direct regulation.”

In January 2018, the FSC banned cryptocurrency trading using anonymous accounts in the country. The new rule requires users to have a bank account under their real name at the same bank with cryptocurrency exchanges for making cryptocurrency transactions.

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