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Trillions: Crypto Scams Have Cost South Korea $2.7T Won

Scams Hit South Korea Hard

Crypto scams haven’t been kind to South Korea. As reported by The Korea Herald, an English newspaper covering events in South Korea, the local Justice Ministry estimates that crypto-related crimes have resulted in over 2.69 trillion won in damages since July 2017. This equates to about $2.3 billion U.S.

To put this sum into perspective, if the loss was spread out to all of South Korea’s 50 million individuals, it would have cost them around $46 U.S. each. Obviously, this isn’t a jaw-dropping sum, but the loss was more centralized, with a fewer number of people losing more apiece.

Damage-causing events include fraud, Ponzi schemes, and the hacks of exchanges.

To respond to the massive negative financial effect that shady individuals and firms in the cryptocurrency space have had on Koreans, the Ministry has arrested and detained over 132 individuals, and have indicted another 288. Also, Justice Minister Park Sang-ki has mandated authorities to be heavy-handed against crypto-centric criminals, presumably so those caught will be forced to pay back their ill-gotten gains.

This report presumably only worsens the public’s viewpoint of the cryptocurrency space, whose reputation has already been bashed in the nation as a result of rampant investment speculation during 2017’s boom. The video below is a perfect example of this Back in early-2018, NBC News released a report about how individuals like Juwon Park, a lady looking to move out of his parents’ home and escape from debt, lost lots of money through investing in assets like Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, and what have you. Her story is purportedly only one of the thousands.

This report comes as cryptocurrency-related scams have seen an evident resurgence. The perfect case in point is Wave Field Super Community, a scam trying to leverage the Chinese translation of Tron’s name for its benefit. The scam promised investors in China massive gains. But of course, Wave Field never delivered, actually managing to steal over $30 million worth of assets from Chinese investors over the course of six months, according to some reports.

Budding Crypto Economy

Despite all this, the local crypto and blockchain economy has continued to see investment and corporate involvement. Recently, Kakao, a massive social media and technology giant in South Korea, released Klaytn. Klaytn, for those unaware, is a blockchain platform that is looking to host a number of applications and use cases, including food data, entertainment, social media rewards, and many more.

Also, South Korean technology giant Samsung has been actively looking into blockchain, and is even supporting an Ethereum wallet on some S10 devices in some nations.

Photo by Shawn Ang on Unsplash
Nick Chong
About author

Nick has been enamored with cryptocurrencies since foraying into the industry in 2013. He has since gotten involved as a reporter, covering news on a number of blockchain- and crypto-related outlets.
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