Business

Ed Drake

South Korea’s Korbit axes Dash, Monero, 3 more altcoins

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Korbit has announced its decision to withdraw support for five cryptocurrencies, following a similar decision in recent days from Japan’s Coincheck exchange.

In the aftermath of the high profile hack at Coincheck, the decision was taken by regulators in Japan to tighten their oversight of the industry, including setting a number of new conditions on crypto exchanges. As a result, Coincheck decided to wind up trading in a number of privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies, based on their use as a mechanism for money laundering.

While there has been no suggestion of similar pressures from the South Korean regulators, Korbit has opted to follow suit, delisting the currencies currently offered via their Other Digital Assets platform.

On its website, the South Korean crypto exchange announced: “We will bid farewell to the Other Digital Assets service through a gradual termination of the buy and sell functions for the following coins,” including Dash (DASH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Augur (REP), and Steem (STEEM).

Buy side transactions will be open until May 28, with sell side extended until June 21. However, Korbit explained there may be a route for these currencies to return in future.

“We strive to facilitate secure trades of more cryptocurrencies, but we have yet to determine the date for resumption of trades of the affected coins,” Korbit stated. “We thus advise you to protect your interests by either selling or withdrawing the said cryptocurrencies….We are fully committed to building the most secure place for you to trade cryptocurrencies.”

No further reasons were given for the decision, although some commentators have suggested that these are likely in the sights of regulators, tasked with avoiding risks to the wider financial system.

Privacy-based cryptocurrencies had proven popular initially, with speculators turning to coins like Monero in order to deliver true anonymity. However, with regulators increasingly looking to crack down on currencies like these, which can be used in international money laundering and terrorist financing without any degree of accountability, it looks as though Korbit may have taken the decision to jump before being pushed.

It remains to be seen whether other exchanges in the region, and beyond, will respond in kind.

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