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7 Major South Korean Exchanges to Create “Healthy Crypto Ecosystem”

7 Major South Korean Exchanges to Create

As the South Korean government continues to work on institutionalizing cryptocurrency exchanges, seven major players have signed an ‘Agreement for the creation of a sound cryptocurrency ecosystem’.

Local media reports that the exchanges, Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, Gopax, Coinplug (Cpdax), and Hanbitco, have stated the accord’s aim is to not only to create a healthy ecosystem but also to prevent crime and protect investors by creating a sound ecosystem and preventing money laundering.

Information sharing and real-time monitoring of unusual transactions will become a major focus of the group’s activities along with more check and balance measures such as restrictions on unverified customers. Financial Services Commission (FSC) head of financial innovation, Kwon Dae-young, declared that the government’s position had not changed much since it was revealed last December:

“We are trying to institutionalize [cryptocurrency exchanges] but before we do, we have to answer the question of how to deal with the damage and tears of many virtual currency investors. We must see if any of the projects that can help the people in their daily lives have been presented. Trust and authenticity are important.”

The new agreement signed by the seven exchanges demonstrates that industry aims appear to be very much in line with the government’s own. Ubit’s de facto voice, Dunamu Inc’s Lee Seok-woo, proposed his own protectionist measures to bring South Korea’s exchanges into line. Lee suggested minimum qualifications and standards for the industry should be bought into play, AML/KYC guidelines should be observed and a new exchange registration system could be introduced: “If you [crypto exchange] cannot meet the standard after a six-month or one-year grace period, you should close it.”

Last month, 40 international and South Korean experts formed another group, the Blockchain Special Committee, which plans to establish a blockchain hub in South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province, also known as Gyeongbuk. Members of the association will be tasked with deliberating and consulting on the creation of “mid-to-long-term strategies” that will foster the blockchain industry.

 

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South Korean Gov Check Finds Security Vulnerabilities at Crypto Exchanges

The outcome of a recent inspection of 21 domestic cryptocurrency exchanges by the South Korean government has just been released.

The inspections were conducted in June and July as a follow up to previous inspections in January and March of this year. The inspections identified 17 out of 85 items as needing immediate focus, 11 of which concerned crypto wallet management.

What was clearly identified in the March inspection was the fact that many of the exchanges lacked adequate security arrangements which included dedicated security and management staff, a password management system, crypto deposit and withdrawal controls, and a system to monitor wallets for abnormalities.

In this latest inspection, the government agencies responsible for the checks clarified that only 11 out of the 21 exchanges had dealt with the outstanding short-term adjustments to their systems. Eight had improved wallet management systems. These were: Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinnest, Coinlink, Coinone, Coinplug, and Huobi Korea. A government statement revealed that:

“In the management of virtual currency wallets, most of the vulnerabilities in the business have not yet been improved.”

Twelve companies didn’t provide adequate security arrangements to address data leakage and loss of funds from cold wallets and ten companies failed to identify and monitor suspicious activity. Ten companies still lacked wallet back up and recovery systems for clients.

There will be a follow-up inspection in September to check that the identified issues have been corrected. In addition,  new exchanges will also come under scrutiny under the same guidelines. Kim Jong-sam, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Information and Communication stated:

“Because of the weak security of virtual currency exchanges, we should be careful in investing…We will continue to check virtual currency exchanges to improve security.”

Kim went on to point out that many cryptocurrency exchanges are operating with “sub-par security systems” and investors need to be careful when selecting a platform to trade on.

Despite the checks and implementation of strict guidelines, regional governments are forging ahead with plans to develop major hubs such as Jeju Island by imposing favorable regulatory frameworks for crypto startups. Clearly, these will also come under scrutiny from government regulators to ensure the security guidelines are maintained.

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