The Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KoFIU) has requested investigative authorities to block 16 unregistered foreign-based Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) that reportedly targeted domestic consumers by offering services in Korean.

See related article: South Korea’s all-encompassing crypto law is coming — what we know so far

Fast facts

  • According to a press release, these unregistered VASPs are KuCoin, MEXC, Phemex,, Bitrue,, Bitglobal, CoinW, CoinEX, AAX, ZoomEX, Poloniex, BTCEX, BTCC, DigiFinex, and Pionex.
  • KoFIU said that the 16 foreign-based VASPs were found to have business operations targeting Koreans without obtaining a registration despite notifying them in July last year about their obligation to register with the authority. 
  • The KoFIU has requested the Korea Communications Commission and the Korea Communications Standards Commission to block domestic access to the websites of the unregistered VASPs.
  • Transfers of virtual assets to and from the 16 unregistered entities will be blocked following an administrative guidance suspending transactions between the registered and unregistered entities.
  • Credit card companies will inspect and block credit card-based virtual asset purchase and payment services offered by them to disable their use in the domestic market, the press release said. 
  • KoFIU said that for illegal business activities of unregistered entities, the punishment can be a maximum of five years of imprisonment or a fine of up to KRW50 million (US$37,668) with a restriction imposed from registering as a VASP in the domestic market for a certain period of time.

See related article: Failed promises compel South Korea’s game makers to explore foreign shores