South Korea has been able to track an estimated $1bn of fraudulent cryptocurrency so far this year, according to data from the Korea Customs Service.
It’s an exorbitant amount given that between 2017 and 2022, custom officers tracked around $2.8bn in suspected fraudulent transactions in total.
This is far ahead of the $600m that Korea reported in 2021 and is a significant increase in the overall criminal activity relating to cryptocurrencies, not just in South Korea but beyond.
The Australian Broadcast Network reported that so far this year Australians have lost $252m to crypto fraudsters.
The increase in tracked cryptocurrency linked to fraudulent activities in South Korea also has to do with the fact that the government is stepping up its efforts to ensure that cryptocurrencies are monitored.
Some of the suspicious practices include a sort of trade known as “kimchi” whereby South Korean traders can buy Bitcoin on the cheap from overseas exchanges and quickly dump it back home where the value is usually up to 30% higher for a very short window of time.
This is now coming under scrutiny and reflects South Korea’s overall commitment to making sure that cryptocurrency gains are taxed properly in the country and that businesses and consumers are aware of the upcoming taxation mandates, along with the high-risk profile of such trades.
In August, South Korea arrested three people in relation to a multi-billion cryptocurrency scam.