Police to Swoop on Cryptocurrency Market

  • By Choi Hyung-seok

    April 20, 2021 10:13

    The government has launched a crackdown on the cryptocurrency market after soaring prices raised the threat of cyber cash being used for money laundering and other criminal activities.

    Authorities will crack down on illegal practices in the market from April to June.

    An electronic board shows price fluctuations at a cryptocurrency exchange in Seoul on Monday. /Yonhap

    Around 9 million people in South Korea trade in the cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoin, which has surged from around W20 million in late 2020 to more than W80 million (US$1=W1,115).

    Fraudsters now offer tens of millions of won and even expensive cars as incentives and then claim they have been hacked and elope with investors' money. Others take advantage of the price difference in Bitcoin values in South Korea and China, which amounts some W10 million, by withdrawing the cryptocurrency here and illegally wiring the gains to China.

    An electronic board shows a graph of daily price fluctuations of bitcoin on April 14. /Yonhap

    According to the Financial Supervisory Service, 555 cases of illegal cryptocurrency deals were reported from January to October last year, up 42 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

    There are also concerns of hacking by North Korea. The UN in a report said that North Korea hacked into South Korea's cryptocurrency market 10 times between 2017 to 2019 and stole W86.4 billion.

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