South Korean Crypto Exchange Coinbit Seized for $84 M in Wash Trade Allegations
South Korea cryptocurrency exchange Coinbit seized by police for allegedly making false transactions to obtain 100 billion won ($84m).
As per the report from Seoul Shinmun, South Korea’s oldest newspaper, police accused Coinbit Owner Choi Mo and other managers for handling multiple accounts, controlling cryptocurrency prices, and raising transaction volume.
Authorities disclosed that the exchange has divided into two functional accounts. The first account consists of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ripple (XRP), and Tether (USDT). Here using ghost accounts the trading was done to inflate the trading volumes.
The second account contains only smaller crypto and altcoins, wherein crypto transactions with other exchanges were stopped, enabling Choi and his team to control the supply. With this strategy, they were able to directly analyze the market margin by trading large amounts of coins at certain times.
The report findings were withheld to the public until the police completed their investigation. As of press time, Coinbit declined by -2.16% (7d) in terms of trading volume.
A wash trade is generally a form of market manipulation in which an investor simultaneously sells and buys the same asset to create misleading and artificial activity in the marketplace deemed illegal in most jurisdictions.
Coinbit only had 252,000 visitors within the last three months, being overtaken by Bithumb and Upbit. The number of affected customers by the incident were still unknown at this time. As South Korea continues to draft crypto laws, there is concern that more attacks like these could follow.
Likewise, the executives of UPbit, also one of South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, have made fraudulent transactions using a fake corporate account to make fake orders worth 254 trillion won ($226.2 billion) to inflate trading volume back in December 2018.