Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx is shutting down local South Korean operations due to the harsh anti-money laundering regulations in the country.
In an announcement on Tuesday, the crypto exchange informed that it will end OKEx Korea services on April 7 and urged clients to withdraw funds before the deadline.
“Please be sure to withdraw the KRW and cryptocurrency you hold by April 7 (Wed), the service end date,” OKEx noted. “After the end of the service, OKEx Korea will not be held liable for any losses arising from failure to withdrawal by the customer.”
OKEx did not originally reveal any reason for the closure of its South Korean operations, but later told multiple media outlets that the move was pushed by both local regulations and its business difficulties in the country.
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Though OKEx is a big name in the global cryptocurrency market, it has a minuscule presence in South Korea. The local operations handled only $3.5 million in trade volumes in the last 24 hours, while the global platform handled over $6 billion in trades, according to CoinGecko data.
While the local affiliate was struggling for a proper bank partnership, its profits from South Korea also remained very small.
The peninsular nation’s revised it’s anti-money laundering regulations for crypto exchanges, which might have been the final blow to OKEx Korea. The rules mandate cryptocurrency exchanges, which are termed virtual asset service providers (VASPs), to undergo compliance inspections and verify customer identities.
Furthermore, Korean exchanges need to report suspicious transactions and cannot share order books with other exchanges.
Though local South Korean exchanges are flourishing with the high cryptocurrency demand, global exchanges could not compete with high regulatory bars. Earlier, Binance Korea also closed its South Korean operation.