Crypto Market is Down as Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange UPbit Raided by Authorities

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by Julia Sakovich · 3 min read
Crypto Market is Down as Korea’s Largest Crypto Exchange UPbit Raided by Authorities
Photo: UPbit

Korea’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange is being investigated by the local authorities which has led to crypto prices decline.

It is reported that UPbit, South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is being raided by the local authorities. Investigators from the Prosecutors’ Office of the southern district of the country’s capital firstly appeared at the head office of the exchange yesterday on May 10. The investigations are still being conducted.

UPbit is a crypto-only exchange that is managed by a subsidiary of Korean tech giant Kakao. The crypto exchange is considered to be the world’s fourth largest and the Korean first largest exchange by its 24-hour trade volume.

The exchange’s notice to clients reads: “UPbit is currently under investigation by prosecutors and is cooperating”. The company promises that all client assets are absolutely safe, adding that all transactions and withdrawals are operating normally.

According to some sources close to the deal, UPbit is suspected of having faked its balance sheets and deceived investors. That’s why 10 investigators were sent to the exchange’s head offices to get access to the computer system of the company with a view to audit its digital currency holdings.

As the Prosecutors’ Office reported, they had confiscated hard disks and accounting books but it would take some days to analyze the received data and to make conclusions.

Nevertheless, UPbit is not the first crypto exchange that has been raided by the local authorities this spring. Due to some anti-money laundering compliance concerns, a number of crypto exchanges’ corporate accounts in Korean banks have been investigated by the Korean Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Services Commission.

Moreover, last month the co-founder and the chief executive of another large Korean crypto exchange CoinNest were accused of fraud and having transferred billions of won from clients’ accounts to their personal ones. In April, another 12 cryptocurrencies exchanges were enforced to enhance the level of customer protection.

The recent news about situation with UPbit has significantly affected the crypto market with many of the top 100 coins down. For example, as it is reported by CoinMarketCap, at the press time, Bitcoin is traded at  $8,608 which means a 8% decline in a 24-hour period. Ethereum is down almost 11% and at the moment it is traded at $681. The price for Ripple is also falling and now it is $0.68, which means that the decline is 15%.

But some experts believe that the news from Korea can be not the only reason for the changes in Bitcoin price. The sell off of Mt. Gox coins may also has influence on this situation. After the bankruptcy of the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox, the Japanese financial authorities ordered the Mt. Gox trustee to sell over 200,000 bitcoins and convert it to Japanese yen.

Four wallets of the Mt. Gox trustee are said to have moved around 2,000 bitcoins each over the past 24 hours, which means that the company has sent over 8,000 bitcoins in total. As a result, it is rather clear that the Mt. Gox trustee is trying to sell its funds on cryptocurrency exchanges.

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