Korea’s antitrust watchdog Fair Trade Commission said on Dec. 21 it has launched on-site inspection of 13 major cryptocurrency exchanges -- including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit -- to see if they have breached consumer protection laws.
The FTC will look into whether they should remain under the online retail business category, or fall under different category to enforce stronger measures. It will also check if there is anything unfair in their terms and conditions.
Based on the investigations, the FTC will take follow-up measures to regulate them.
The three-day probe is a follow-up on the government’s wide-ranging measures to curb cryptocurrency speculation here, the world’s third largest Bitcoin trading market. Last week, it proposed detailed regulations on cryptocurrency trading, including a ban on minors and foreigners.
The audit comes a day after a major cryptocurrency exchange Youbit filed for bankruptcy after losing 17 percent of its assets in a cyberattack.
Youbit is also registered as an online retail business, the same category as online shopping malls that are easy to declare with a simple application.
Industry watchers say the government will likely categorize these exchanges as financial institutions to apply stronger rules on security and consumer protection.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org