Last year may have been tough for major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Upbit.

But they are getting a bit of early good news this year.

A South Korean court has cleared three senior Upbit executives of 30 counts of criminal fraud and market manipulation.

At Seoul Southern District Court on Friday, Deputy Judge Oh Sang-yong dismissed the charges, ruling that prosecutors had presented insufficient evidence.

You’ll recall that in December 2018, prosecutors indicted the trio — including Upbit’s chairman and CFO — accusing them of placing false orders and making false transactions in order to inflate the exchange’s trading volume and raise its cryptocurrency prices.

The court, however, was unconvinced by the evidence provided. The bench also pointed out that a cryptocurrency exchange is not a stock exchange, as as such, there are no laws preventing them from directly participating in market transactions.

The court also found the accusation that the exchange had used a bot to keep the price of Bitcoin high unconvincing.

Upbit isn’t completely out of the woods, though, as prosecutors can appeal an acquittal in South Korea.


Also in the Korea blockchain space…

  • South Korea to Allow Regulatory Sandboxes Related to Blockchain-based Overseas Remittances
    (Coin Idol, Jan. 31)
    South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Communications will examine whether to allow blockchain-based overseas remittance solutions into its regulatory sandboxes if the National Assembly passes revisions to financial transactions laws. Which is probably good news for MOIN, at least in the long-term.
  • Crypto Developer Virgil Griffith Pleads Innocent to Aiding North Korea
    (By Jeff Francis, BitcoinerX, Jan. 30)
    The Ethereum developer who was arrested in the United States after attending a blockchain conference in North Korea has pleaded innocent. He was also released on a US$1 million bond. His next court date is March 17.
  • Is the Future of Blockchain Tech Innovation in the East?
    (By Tal Kol, CoinTelegraph, Jan. 31)
    Orbs co-founder Tal Kol argues that “the U.S. is at risk of losing its place as the leading innovator to Asia, impacting our technological future significantly.” Most of the piece focuses on China, but he also mentions South Korea. “The Korean market also has potential to become a leader for blockchain adoption in the world,” he writes. “The country is pioneering blockchain adoption in many areas of large business, startups and government. The Ministry of Science and Technology in South Korea has launched initiatives for training blockchain developers, and the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to invest over $1 billion in blockchain and fintech startups by 2022.
  • South Korean Crypto Wallet Bitberry Calls It Quits
    (By Ricardo Martinez, Bitcoinist, Jan. 31)
    As we’ve noted here before, times are tough if you’re not one of South Korea’s big four exchanges. BitBerry is shutting down, citing deteriorating market conditions.