LINE digital currency exchange to pull Korean operations as regulatory deadline approaches

The digital currency exchange operated as a subsidiary of Japanese tech group LINE is to withdraw support for its services to South Korea, as the regulatory deadline for tougher rules on operators approaches.

In a move that could indicate a likely direction of travel for a number of foreign operators in Korea, LINE’s Bitfront exchange is reportedly shutting down its Korean language service as of September 14, as well as halting all payment support for Korean credit cards by the same date.

With tougher regulations incoming for digital currency exchanges and similar businesses in South Korea, the move is likely to be the first among many crypto businesses reassessing their services within the South Korean market.

It follows the decision earlier in the month by Binance to halt trading pairs and payment support for Korean won transactions. However, the exchange had said it intended to proactively comply with the forthcoming rules, which would ultimately allow it to reopen services to and within the Korean market.

The activity is all being driven by the Financial Transaction Reports Act, which has set a deadline of September 24 for all digital currency companies operating in South Korea to register with regulators, and crucially, to obtain a certificate on information security from the authorities.

The certification is now mandated for virtual asset service providers operating in the country, which includes digital currency exchanges and other digital asset services. It is issued to qualifying companies by the Korea Internet and Security Agency, and will be a requirement for any digital currency firms wanting to operate in Korea in future.

There have also been efforts from the country’s Financial Intelligence Unit in pushing exchanges towards registering with the authorities as a means of complying with anti-money laundering rules.

The news is likely to leave South Korean consumers with less choice when it comes to digital currency exchanges and other digital asset service providers. 

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