South Korea Establishes Guidance for Regulating Digital Assets as Securities

South Korea has issued guidelines that specify the categories of digital assets that will be treated as securities in the nation and subject to the country’s securities regulations.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) noted in a press statement that digital assets that fulfil the criteria provided forth in the country’s Capital Markets Legislation would be recognised as securities. These qualities may be found in the act itself.

According to the legislation, securities are considered to be forms of investments in the financial market in which the purchaser does not need to make any extra payments after the first investment. In addition, the FSC presented several examples of the kind of digital assets that are most likely going to be categorised as securities. According to the Financial Stability Commission (FSC), this may include tokens that offer investors with a return, grant holders rights to dividends or residual assets, or give holders a stake in the operations of the firm.

Under the provisions of the country’s Capital Markets Law, virtual currencies that meet the criteria for classification as securities tokens will be subject to regulation. In the meanwhile, new rules will control digital assets that do not have the characteristics of securities and will apply to such digital assets.

Token issuers and brokers, such as cryptocurrency exchanges, will be responsible for determining whether cryptocurrencies will be categorised as securities based on the legislation, as stated by the FSC. Additionally, the regulatory body emphasised that a case-by-case analysis will be performed.

The financial authority also underlined that the new guideline is part of preparations for the legalisation, issuance, and distribution of security tokens inside the nation. This was mentioned in the previous sentence.

The cryptocurrency ecosystem has seen significant participation from South Korea. The city of Busan announced its intentions to create a decentralised digital commodities market on January 19th. Officials from the government have said that this year would mark the beginning of the platform’s activities.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Justice of the nation has plans to implement a monitoring system for cryptocurrency. The government of South Korea announced on the 29th of January that it will implement a monitoring system in an attempt to prevent efforts to launder money and to reclaim cash that are tied to illegal activity.


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Binance Acquires Majority Stake in Gopax

Through its recent purchase of the South Korean cryptocurrency trading platform Gopax, the major cryptocurrency exchange Binance is making its way back to South Korea.

Binance has reentered the South Korean market after leaving it two years ago, according to an announcement made by the business on February 3, stating that it has purchased a controlling position in Gopax, which is funded by Digital Currency Group. The financing for the deal was provided by a finance-initiated investment initiative called as the Industry Recovery Initiative, to which Binance committed an amount equal to one billion dollars.

Binance, according to the CEO of the company, Changpeng Zhao, is not only responsible for safeguarding cryptocurrency consumers, but also the cryptocurrency industry as a whole. “The Industry Recovery Initiative was established in order to provide help to promising businesses that were knocked back as a result of the happenings of the previous year. We have high hopes that taking this step with GOPAX will contribute to the further revitalization of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries in Korea,” he said.

According to reports, Binance Chief Business Officer Yibo Ling said that the company has bought a “significant” stock holding at Gopax. However, Ling did not disclose the specifics of the transaction. Previous reports stated that Binance bought a 41% interest from Gopax’s main shareholder, Lee Jun-hang, despite the fact that the transaction was initially scheduled to be revealed a year ago.

After Gopax temporarily suspended withdrawals from some products in November 2022 in response to the collapse of the FTX exchange, the transaction was finalised a few months later.

As a response to problems encountered by the crypto lending company Genesis Global Capital, which has now gone out of business, Gopax has suspended the withdrawal of principal and interest payments via its decentralised finance (DeFi) service GoFi. According to reports, before to filing for bankruptcy, Genesis was Gopax’s second biggest stakeholder and a crucial commercial partner, contributing its GoFi product.

Binance intends to invest the newly acquired funds into the Gopax exchange in order to facilitate client withdrawals and interest payments for GoFi after the completion of the transaction. In addition to promoting crypto education, the programme intends to foster close engagement with the authorities in South Korea and the players in virtual asset markets.

According to what Ling had to say about the matter, “the essential aim of this arrangement was to help clients and make sure that any customers who wish to withdraw their assets have the chance to do so.”


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South Korea probes crypto exchanges for local tokens

This year, native cryptocurrencies proved to be the most significant cause that led to the failure of a number of cryptocurrency exchanges and ecosystems; the most recent instance of this was the collapse of the FTX.

The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU), which is Korea’s authority on financial matters, took note of the same thing when it initiated an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges in regard to listing their own internally created tokens.

The cryptocurrency exchange FTX and its 130 affiliated enterprises have just filed for bankruptcy as a result of a drop in the price of the FTX Token, the company’s in-house token.

A local article states that the purpose of KoFIU’s investigation into the matter is to maintain regulatory compliance for the protection of investors. This is the case despite the fact that Korean cryptocurrency exchanges are prohibited from releasing native tokens.

Initial examinations indicated that every cryptocurrency exchange operating inside South Korea followed all applicable laws and regulations.

A representative for the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said that “there are still some uncertainties linked” to in-house token listings. This prompted the FSC to announce preparations to conduct a more in-depth inquiry.

According to a report by the regional media outlet Yonhap, Flata Exchange is one of the key suspects and is now the subject of an investigation since it listed its in-house token, FLAT, in January 2020.

Authorities have said that major exchanges like Upbit and Bithumb are no longer under investigation; instead, they would concentrate their efforts on investigating smaller exchanges.


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City of Busan Signs MoU with OKX’s Investment Arm to Spur Blockchain Growth

The City of Busan in South Korea has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with OKX Blockdream Ventures, the investment arm of crypto exchange OKX, to enhance its blockchain sector. 

Per the announcement:

“As part of the agreement, the City of Busan will encourage investors to increase their investments in the Busan blockchain sector. In addition, the City of Busan will supply the necessary resources to attract large amounts of foreign capital for blockchain sector development.”

Therefore, OKX Blockdream Ventures will propel Busan City’s blockchain industry by recruiting top local talent and attracting global ones. Furthermore, it will provide marketing and media solutions.


Based on OKX Blockdream Ventures’ objective of propelling cutting-edge blockchain innovations, it seeks to boost Busan’s local capabilities in this sector.


Dora Yue, the founder of OKX Blockdream Ventures, pointed out:

“Through our industry-leading position, we hope to invest in promising and innovative blockchain projects in South Korea and actively promote the developments of the local blockchain industry.”

Through the strategic partnership, Busan will also attain long-term structural value. Heong-Joon Park, Busan’s mayor, added:

“We welcome VCs onboard in Busan and are expecting much from our future collaboration. We appreciate you actively participating in building Busan’s blockchain ecosystem. Together, we will help to make Busan a blockchain-specialized city.”

Busan has been making collaborations with different crypto exchanges aimed at boosting the digital asset space in the city. 


For instance, it signed a business deal with  FTX to support the establishment of its own exchange called Busan Digital Asset Exchange in August, Blockchain.News reported


As a result, the City of Busan would become a cryptocurrency center that would attract global attention based on a booming digital asset ecosystem. Furthermore, blockchain-specific education would be promoted. 

Image source: Shutterstock


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South Korea to Provide Blockchain-based Digital Identities to Citizens by 2024

South Korea plans to provide digital identities encrypted by blockchain with smartphones to citizens in 2024 to facilitate its economic development., Bloomberg reported Monday.

The South Korean government stated that with the expansion of the digital economy, the ID embedded in the smartphone is an indispensable emerging technology to support the development of data.

Through digital identities on the blockchain, the network verification process will be simplified, and users can log in without taking a certificate or a verification code sent by text.

Widespread use based on digital IDs will be expected to increase government efficiency by saving more administrative workforce and time, reducing wage fraud, expanding consumer credit, facilitating trade, and generating new markets.

Alternatively,  other applications of digital IDs include: facilitating online medical services; hotel check-in using a smartphone; prevention of ID forgery and theft; remote approval of contracts; fast boarding, etc.

McKinsey & Company believes introducing digital IDs could boost a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 13% and reduce business costs by trillions of dollars.

Citing Hwang Seogwon, an economist at the Korea Institute for Science and Technology Policy, stressed the importance of risk assessment:

“Digitals IDs can yield huge economic benefits in finance, healthcare, taxes, transportation and other areas and may catch on quickly among the Korean population.”

Meanwhile, Suh Bo Ram, head of the Korea Digital Government Bureau, said South Korea could reap at least 60 trillion won ($42 billion) in economic value over a decade from the plan, which is close to 3% of South Korea’s national GDP.

In addition, South Korea seeks to adopt the digital identity system for 45 million people within two years. Under the plan, the government will not be able to access information stored on individuals’ mobile phones, including details on whose digital IDs are used and how and where they are used, as the system will rely entirely on blockchain technology-based decentralization identity.

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South Korean Prosecutors Arrest Key Do Kwon’s Aid

South Korean prosecutors in charge of the Terraform Labs case have arrested a major employee of the embattled blockchain startup named ‘Yoo’.


As reported by the Korean media platform JTBC, Yoo is one of the six people the prosecutors had issued an arrest warrant for. His specific offence is centred around market manipulations. 

According to the report, Yoo’s market manipulation violated the Capital Markets Act of Korea. With the history of evading authorities, a bench warrant will be issued to keep Yoo in custody until his trial date.

A bench warrant is often issued to keep a suspect that has the tendency to abscond if granted bail. The collapse of Terraform Labs and the associated LUNA and UST tokens have notably distraught Do Kwon, Daniel Shin, and other key developers in the Terraform Labs startup.

With more than $40 billion worth of investors’ funds wiped out within the twinkling of an eye, South Korean regulators are seriously looking for who to pin the crash on for law enforcement. Do Kwon has been on the run since the investigation was launched, even though he claims he is not in hiding.

The Korean prosecutors have conducted raids on exchanges that might have transaction records involving the collapsed LUNA and UST tokens. While the discoveries made from these raids remain an enigma, the resolve to bring Do Kwon in for questioning and prosecution has intensified in the past few weeks.

The Korean prosecutors have also sought out help from Interpol, and a Red Notice to capture Do Kwon has been issued for his arrest. With the seizure of his personal cash holdings not enough to fish him out, Korean regulators have voided his passport after first sending him a message that he should return the passport within a 14-day timeframe.

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South Korean Regulators Order Seizing 3313 BTC Linked to Do Kwon

The South Korean regulators have instructed KuCoin and OKX to freeze the total of 3,313 Bitcoin (BTC) worth approximately $67 million linked to Do Kwon.

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The asset freeze on KuCoin and OKX was reported by an online media outlet, citing one of the officials at the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors’ Office.

According to the crypto research outfit, CryptoQuant, the Luna Foundation Guard (LFG), recently created a new crypto wallet from which it transferred the total Bitcoin quantity to the two exchanges.

“CryptoQuant specified new Bitcoin addresses owned by LFG based on transaction patterns, adjacent flows, and material non-public information,” the researcher said in an emailed statement. 

As the person of interest in several investigations bordering on the collapse of Terra (LUNA) and its sister algorithmic stablecoin, TerraUSD (UST), Do Kwon has long been on the radar of Korean regulators. The attempts to arrest Kwon have proved abortive since the case was initiated. After confirming that the developer is no longer a resident in Singapore, Interpol has issued a Red Notice to Fasttrack his arrest.

On his part, Do Kwon has often reiterated that he is “making zero effort to hide,” adding he “goes on walks and malls.” 

Despite his public appearances on social media, the exact location of his residence is unknown. However, many believe his days of running from the authorities are numbered, with the Red Notice alert now issued on his head.

With about $60 billion wiped out from the Terra ecosystem with the collapse of LUNA and UST, the funds cannot be recovered despite the attempt to fork a new token from the old. Regulators understand that the funds are not coming back, but they will need a deterrent which Do Kwon and co-founder Daniel Shin fit the profile of the needed scapegoat.

Image source: Shutterstock


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S. Korean Regulators Oppose Busan’s Regulatory Measures for Attracting Foreign Crypto Exchanges

South Korean financial authorities expressed their opposite stance against Busan City to provide special regulatory support for partners to establish digital asset exchanges, local media outlet Money Today reported Thursday.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) under the Financial Services Commission of South Korea said judicial risks, investor risks and money laundering risks exist in cooperation with foreign cryptocurrency exchanges that will cause reverse discrimination against local cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

 “If Busan City unreasonably rushes to establish a digital asset exchange, it may be criticized for saying that the referee (government) acts as the player (operator) before the disciplinary system advises.

On Aug. 26, the South Korean city of Busan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, which will help the local government to establish its own exchange or the Busan digital asset exchange.

Busan city government also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FTX on August 30 and Huobi Global on September 14, agreeing to cooperate in establishing digital asset exchange. The city of Busan has pledged to provide administrative support for these overseas exchanges to enter South Korea.

However, South Korean financial authorities warned that Chinese coin exchanges such as Binance or Huobi Global are currently under investigation by foreign regulators, such as U.S. regulators the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating whether Binance violated securities laws.

The financial regulators pointed out that South Korea will be criticized for cooperation projects with such “flawed companies”. 

All three exchanges named are headquartered in the famous tax havens of Malta and the Bahamas; if these exchanges first operate in South Korea or establish a joint exchange with Busan City, there will be a high risk of money laundering.

The administration is concerned there may have a possibility that Chinese coin exchanges would invade the business field of South Korean exchanges if securities token trading through South Korean exchanges is allowed.

South Korean crypto exchange Coredax also objected to the local city government decision, saying it would hinder the development of crypto assets in the country and deepen foreign dependence.

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South Korean Watchdogs Request Interpol’s Red Notice against Do Kwon

The controversy surrounding Do Kwon’s whereabouts continues to grow, given that South Korean prosecutors asked Interpol to issue a red notice against the Terraform Labs’ founder. 


The Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office had aired its tribulations about Kwon’s noncooperative nature and that he did not intend to show up for questioning. 

“Prosecutors have made a request to Interpol for their assistance to locate Kwon, whose whereabouts remain unknown and to have him handed over to Korea,” the Prosecutors office said, adding that “Currently, we are in the process to locate the whereabouts of suspect Do Kwon and apprehend him,” a prosecution official added.

Over the weekend, Do Kwon insisted that he was not on the run and tweeted:

“I am not ‘on the run’ or anything similar – (from) any government agency that has shown interest to communicate, we are in full cooperation, and we don’t have anything to hide.”

Following the collapse of Terraform Labs’ native tokens UST and Luna in May, the crash triggered a $60 billion crypto meltdown. As a result, South Korean authorities have been pursuing him to get to the bottom line of the matter.

Recently, Seoul Court issued an arrest warrant for Do Kwon and five others for violating the nation’s capital markets law, Blockchain.News reported. 

Furthermore, various lawsuits against Kwon have emerged from investors in different countries.

A red notice issued by Interpol requires law enforcers globally to restrict persons from undertaking cross-border travels and being issued with visas. Moreover, it guarantees the provisional arrest of an individual pending surrender or extradition.

Kwon had initially travelled from South Korea to Singapore, given that Terraform Labs had a base at the latter. Nevertheless, his whereabouts remain scanty because the Singapore Police force hinted that Kwon was not in the nation.

LUNA sent shockwaves to the crypto market after collapsing to near-zero overnight despite it being among the top ten cryptocurrencies in May. 

Things started going south when the algorithmic UST stablecoin on the Terra network experienced a free fall to the extent that leading crypto exchange Binance temporarily halted its withdrawals together with that of LUNA.

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Korean Prosecutors Consulting if LUNA Classified “Security”

The probe into Terraform Labs by South Korean prosecutors is taking a whole new twist as watchdogs are making consultations on how best to classify the collapsed LUNA tokens – now known as Luna Classic (LUNC).

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As reported by the Korean Herald, the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office’s Financial and Securities Crime Joint Investigation Team is consulting with industry stakeholders to determine the best designation for LUNA coins. Should the consultation lead to the recognition of the coin as a security, it will complicate the ongoing case for Terraform Labs as it will now also be violating the Capital Markets Act.

The collapse of Terraform Labs’ associated tokens, including LUNA and the algorithmic TerraUSD (UST) stablecoin back in May effectively ushered in the first wave of the crypto winter. With the plummeted prices, companies who had exposure to the assets suffered such financial challenges that many, like Three Arrows Capital (3AC), could not recover from.

Besides corporate startups who went bankrupt on exposure to the LUNA tokens, retail investors also suffered a tremendous amount of loss. In Korea alone, as many as 270,000 investors had exposure to LUNA and UST, with most ending in losses at this time.

According to the Korean Herald, South Korean prosecutors are broadening their investigations into the company. This move has stirred targeted raids on the home premises of Terraform Labs Co-Founder Daniel Shin as well as those of trading platforms that are suspected to have dealings with the now defunct company.

With more details still required by the prosecutors, there is no doubt that Do Kwon and Terraform Labs will face some reprimand. For now, however, Kwon’s whereabouts seem to be staling the process, but the prosecutors have issued a standing that will alert them once Do Kwon sets his feet on Korean shores.

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