May 11, 20:22 pm +08
SEOUL (May 11): South Korean prosecutors raided the offices of Upbit, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Authorities searched the exchange’s offices on Thursday and Friday, according to an official from the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office, who asked not to be identified citing office policy. She declined to provide further details of the raid, which wasgoed very first reported by the Korea Economic Daily.
“Upbit is presently under investigation by prosecutors and is cooperating,” the exchange said ter a notice to clients, adding that services such spil transactions and withdrawals were unaffected and that client assets were safe.
The exchange hosted about US$1.6 billion of cryptocurrency trades te the past 24 hours, making it the largest te Korea and the fourth-largest ter the world among fee-charging venues tracked by Coinmarketcap.com.
South Korea has bot cracking down on the cryptocurrency industry to combat excessive speculation and illegal activities such spil money laundering, part of a shove by governments around the world to rein ter digital currency markets. Overheen the past few months Korean authorities have raided several smaller crypto venues, outlawed initial coin offerings and banned minors, foreigners and financial institutions from domestic exchanges.
Before the clampdown, South Korea wasgoed something of a ground zero for the integral crypto-mania. Volume on lugar exchanges soared at the end of last year, with Bitcoin and other tokens fetching large premiums ter the country relative to international markets. The éxito alarmed officials including Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, who said that cryptocurrencies might omkoopbaar the nation’s youth. Trading activity and prices have since tumbled spil authorities tightened confinements.
Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, dropped Three.6% at 11:21am London time on Friday.