Huobi Korea announced on April 8 that they would be ending support for Monero (XMR) trading starting on April 9, 2020. They stated that this was due to «low trading volumes and anonymity functions». They did not, however, reference the recent Nth room case, in which South Korean media has speculated the exploitation ring used XMR to complete anonymous transactions.
According to the South Korean newspaper, Sisa Journal, headlines covering the sexual exploitation case remained rampant in the country, with many news outlets suggesting that Monero has been used for criminal acts, specifically in the Nth case.
The quoted case is an ongoing criminal investigation that allegedly involved sexual exploitation and the distribution of videos containing rapes among Telegram chat rooms.
Bithumb still lists XMR in South Korea despite the reports
Sisa Journal is also reporting that another cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb, has been under pressure for its decision to continue listing XMR for trade. According to local newspapers, it is the only remaining Korean exchange to do so.
Huobi gave the following official statement regarding Monero’s delisting decision:
“We decided to end the transaction to prevent the situation that could be caused by poor transaction volume and Monero’s anonymity.”
However, as Sisa Journal states, there is no conclusive evidence that XMR has been used for transactions within Telegram chat rooms, where it has been reported that 74 females have been victims, and some of them are minors.
The South Korean newspaper reports that the man accused of leading the sexual exploitation ring, Cho Joo-bin, preferred Monero payments for their untraceable attributes. It was also allegedly used to pay the chatroom’s admins a monthly salary.
Cryptocurrency exchanges aiding in the investigation
On March 25, Cointelegraph reported that four cryptocurrency exchanges reportedly are assisting local law enforcement authorities in the investigations.
Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, and Korbit are allegedly working on trying to reveal the identity of those who transacted to gain access to the videos.