South Korea, once home to one of the fastest growing crypto markets in the world, has established an interagency investigation unit to tackle cryptocurrency crimes amid a surge in the market a lack of legal protections for investors, according to a report by Reuters.

The unit will be comprised of some 30 personnel from various agencies, including judicial, finance, tax, and customs agencies.

“Virtual assets are investment products that already compare to stocks, but market participants are practically left out from legal protection amid incomplete laws and systems,” said the South Korean Prosecutor’s office.

According to data from the prosecutor’s office, cryptocurrency-related crimes rose 118% over the last five years in the nation, to 1.02 trillion won, or approximately USD$800m in 2022.

S.Korean Lawmakers To Ramp up Regulations as Local Crypto Market Shrinks

The nation has been ramping up their standards on crypto regulation since 2022, when the market shrank by almost two-thirds following the collapse of Terra Luna and its native tokens LUNA and USDT. On July 11th this year, when the prosecutor’s office originally announced plans for a dedicated crypto investigation unit, they highlighted the collapse of Terra and accused then CEO Do Kwon of defrauding investors, among other charges.

Lawmakers also passed a new crypto bill in tandem with the announcement in order to establish a proper regulatory framework for digital assets. The bill would require crypto service providers to ring-fence user assets and deposits, establish digital rights for virtual asset users, and impose penalties for price manipulation, amongst other new regulations.

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[Editor’s Note: This article does not represent financial advice. Please do your research before investing.]

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