South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb said it would refuse access to foreigners who cannot verify their identities on their mobile phones. The decision will be made while the trading platform complies with the country’s updated regulations, which will go into effect later this month.

The Korean exchange Bithumb is preparing to register under new rules

Foreign nationals who fail cell phone identity verification will not be able to use the services of Bithumb, one of the four largest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea. The platform announced this this week as it prepares to follow new, stricter rules for the Korean crypto sector through September 24th.

The country’s revised special fund law came into effect on March 25 and will come into effect after a six-month grace period. It requires domestic crypto exchanges to register with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Financial Services Commission (FSC). They also need to work with local banks to implement the real name account system.

Although Bithumb’s September 1 announcement is addressed to “Foreigners Living Abroad,” it also states that foreigners “residing in Korea” who cannot verify their identity on cell phones will not be able to use the platform. According to the related report by the Korea Herald, dealers should use “Korean cell phones” and “regardless of where they live” to complete the procedure. The publication also notes that Bithumb has already stopped accepting foreigners without a residence permit.

The exchange also warned affected users not to withdraw their assets without specifying a date. According to the announcement, the services will be discontinued “within 2021 (when confirmation by the customer becomes mandatory)”. The trading platform promised to notify users again “when customer review is mandatory and policy changes are made”.

The English-language Korean daily quoted a Bithumb official as saying the company was taking final steps before filing for registration with the Financial Intelligence Unit, South Korea’s premier anti-money laundering agency. In July, Bithumb terminated its branding agreements with two coin trading platforms operating overseas under its brand name.

On Friday, Upbit, the country’s largest digital asset exchange, became the first platform to register with the FIU. Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit are working to propose a “travel rule” solution to meet another of the new regulatory requirements, the newspaper added.

Do you expect other Korean crypto exchanges to introduce similar restrictions on foreigners? Let us know in the comments section below.

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