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  • Michael Paulyn

South Korean Regulators say that Over 16 Crypto Platforms are Illegally Operating in the Country

Updated: Jan 20

In August 2022, the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) shared publicly that foreign cryptocurrency exchanges were operating in the country. These exchanges were covertly serving local customers, says the top financial regulator in South Korea.

The national fintech watchdog further shared that over sixteen VASPs (virtual asset service providers) ultimately failed to register with the local authorities properly, rendering them illegal within South Korea.

The following crypto exchanges were illegally operating: KuCoin, MEXC, Phemex, XT.com, Bitrue, ZB.com, Bitglobal, CoinW, CoinEX, AAX, ZoomEX, Poloniex, BTCEX, BTCC, DigiFinex, and Pionex. KoIFU released a statement explaining that "virtual asset users should check whether the VASPs that they are dealing with are legitimately registered with the authority according to the law."


In recent years, the South Korean market has grown to over USD 42 billion, with the tiny nation reaching 15 million users to statistics shared by the KoIFU. These illegal operations are said to have affected about 280,000 users in the country, with many claiming to have lost massive sums and some even losing their living savings.

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