Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.
Bithumb in turmoil
On Jan. 25, Yonhap Infomax reported that South Korean authorities had requested an arrest warrant for Kang Jong-Hyun, chairman and owner of cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb, over embezzlement allegations. That same day, the Financial Investigation Second Division of the Seoul Southern District Prosecutor’s Office accused Jong-Hyun and two Bithumb executives of embezzlement, conducting fraudulent transactions and breach of trust.
A leaked photo of Bithumb chairman Kang Jong-Hyun. Source: Korea Post English
Authorities said that Kang played a key role in manipulating the stock prices of Bithumb affiliates Inbiogen and Bucket Studio through the issuance of convertible bonds.
Bithumb is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. Its previous chairman, Lee Jung-Hoon, was found not guilty last month of a $70 million fraud charge related to his activities at Bithumb. Park Mo, Bithumb’s former largest shareholder, died on Dec. 30 while under investigation for allegedly embezzling funds from Bithumb and related companies. The firm is also currently probed by the National Tax Service over tax compliance incidents.
Binance’s 2022 annual report
In its annual report released on Jan. 19, cryptocurrency exchange Binance revealed that the firm received more than 47,000 law enforcement inquiries throughout the year. The exchange said such requests were processed “at a record time” and that it was the first among blockchain firms to join the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, a nonprofit cybercrime fighting unit based in Pittsburg.
In response to the inquiries, Binance said it increased the headcount of its security team by more than 500% and hosted 70 law enforcement workshops around the globe in 2022 to help fight blockchain-related financial crime.
In the event of security incidents, Binance also stated it would tap into…