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Authorities to inspect virtual cryptocurrency accounts at banks

A special investigation will be implemented on virtual accounts used for cryptocurrency deals, as part of the government’s recent pledge to crack down on excessive speculations, officials said Sunday.

The Financial Services Commission-affiliated Korean Financial Intelligence Unit and Financial Supervisory Service will jointly lead the inspection of six major banks, starting from Monday.

The corresponding banks are KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, NongHyup Bank, Industrial Bank of Korea and Korea Development Bank. 


It is rare for the two organizations to conduct a joint survey, a move that industry watchers viewed as beyond a watch on anti-money laundering measures by the banks and ultimately intended to cool the overheated market.

The subject bank accounts are those established by cryptocurrency operators, through which investors may deposit and withdraw money for transactions.

As of the end of December, 111 such accounts were detected at the six listed banks, holding some 2 trillion won ($1.8 billion) in total balance.

Estimating that millions of virtual accounts derived from these root accounts, authorities earlier defined cryptocurrency deals as “high risk transactions” and imposed some 40 checklist clauses upon them.

Should the upcoming inspection reveal violations, the given operator may face penalties such as closing down the account or even terminating business in the market.

Late last year, Seoul banned the issuance of new virtual accounts for cryptocurrency exchanges, while only real-name bank accounts and matching accounts at cryptocurrency exchanges are to be allowed in the future.

By Bae Hyun-jung (