South Korea’s digital currency exchanges assisting in child porn investigations

South Korea‘s largest digital currency exchanges are actively assisting the police investigate a child pornography scandal. The case involves over a dozen minors and has caused national uproar, with the main culprit now behind bars. The exchanges will help the police to trace the payments which the perpetrators conducted in digital currencies.

Known as the ‘Nth Room’ scandal, it grabbed headlines just days ago. The man behind it, Cho Joo-bin, known as “The Doc” in online forums, was arrested yesterday. The Doc had been exploiting young girls into performing sexual acts, some of them bizarre, and distributing it to his subscribers on Telegram. And while the police were able to arrest The Doc, they are yet to get to all the other perpetrators, especially since Telegram encrypts all messages. This is where the digital currency exchanges have stepped in.

According to a report by the Chinese outlet Sina.com, Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit are actively assisting the police in their investigations. The exchanges require their users to provide their personal information during registration, information which the police will use to track anyone who made a payment using digital currencies.

The exchanges’ assistance is already bearing fruits, some local reports suggest. According to Koreaboo, police have arrested 128 suspects so far using information provided by one exchange in particular. The exchanges have furnished the police with information for most of the 10,000 paying clients of the Nth Room. Some of those behind bars are “Professors, famous celebrities, famous athletes, and persons with great fame,” the report indicates.

The Doc is alleged to have distributed child porn since 2018. He entices the victims through social media platforms such as Twitter, promising them money if they send him nude photographs. He would then use these photos to blackmail them if they wanted out and to make them perform even more daring acts. According to the New York Times, 74 women have been found to have been victims of the heinous operation, 16 of whom are minors. In South Korea, the police are obliged to conceal a suspect’s identity to protect his rights. However, over 2.6 million people petitioned the country’s president to reveal his identity.

South Korea is notorious for child porn. In October last year, the U.S. Department of Justice cracked down on “largest darknet child pornography website” in the world, arresting hundreds of culprits. One of the main people behind it was a South Korean. The platform was processing payments exclusively in BTC, probably thinking it offered anonymity.

And just a fortnight ago, the operator of yet another darknet child porn website was arrested and charged in the U.S. Known as Mr. Dark, he is alleged to have sold over 2,000 porn scenes containing minors and accepting payment in BTC.

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