The South Korean Justice Ministry estimates that cryptocurrency-related crimes have caused 2.69 trillion won (about $2.28 billion) of financial damage between July 2017 and June 2019.
According to a July 21 report by English-language local media The Korea Herald, the ministry claimed that 132 cryptocurrency-related criminals and fraudsters had been indicted and detained, with another 288 indicted without physical detention during the aforementioned time frame.
The report states that, while Justice Minister Park Sang-kim has ordered stern measures against cryptocurrency criminals, a lack of clear regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges has led to an increase in the use of quasi-anonymous or opaque accounts.
Despite a ban on anonymous crypto exchange accounts in January last year, minor exchanges reportedly started using so-called “beehive accounts” to circumvent the regulation.
Exchanges employing these kind of accounts keep user funds on their corporate bank accounts, keeping the identity of their users private. The government reportedly proposed to end the practice, but a court halted the initiative ruling that it would be inappropriate for the government to close the exchange’s corporate bank accounts.
As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, South Korea’s leading credit card firm Shinhan Card was granted a patent for a blockchain payments system.
On July 1, news broke that Busan, South Korea's second most-populous city after Seoul, is considering the launch of a local cryptocurrency in collaboration with BNK Busan Bank, a subsidiary of local holding company BNK Financial Group.