Upbit, South Korea's leading crypto exchange under scrutiny

Bitcoin crypto miners

South Korea has been cracking down on the cryptocurrency industry to combat excessive speculation and illegal activities such as money laundering, part of a push by governments around the world to rein in digital currency markets. The terrible sentiment seems to be a reaction to reports that South Korea's exchange Upbit is suspected of fraud.

"UPbit is now under investigation by the prosecution, and we are working diligently", the exchnage said. According to data from cryptocurrency tracker Coinmarketcap, the exchange has processed almost $2.2 billion in the past 24 hours, which makes it the third-largest crypto trading platform in terms of trading volume, behind OKEx and Binance.

The CEO of high-profile South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Coinnest has reportedly been arrested after siphoning user funds into his own account. According to Chosun, the investigators seized hard drives and accounting records between the dates of May 10th and May 11th. "Analysis is expected to take days", the Prosecutors' Office said. The company added that services such as transactions and withdrawals were unaffected and client assets were safe.

The price of Bitcoin dropped below the $9,000 mark and Ethereum failed at the $700 handle within the period of 24 hours as South Korea's cryptocurrency ecosystem awaits further news regarding the suspected fraud executed by one of the largest operators in the country, Upbit. "Your assets are kept securely in your account". Volume on local exchanges soared at the end of previous year, with Bitcoin and other tokens fetching large premiums in the country relative to global markets. "To the original complainant, Upbit pays a reward of 1 million won (around $900 U.S. dollars)".

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The investigation into UPbit is still ongoing and the local police is yet to release its finalized report on the situation.

Last month, South Korean prosecutors detained four executives from two cryptocurrency exchanges that also involved heads of Coinnest exchange on the allegation of embezzlement and fraud.

Specifically, officials have conducted raids on three exchanges in addition to Upbit.

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