Cryptocurrency prices have fallen sharply following the news that Upbit, Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, was investigated by South Korean prosecutors on fraud charges.
The Bitcoin price plunged to 89.1 million won (US$80,000) at Bithumb as of 4:40 pm on May 11, a drop of one million won (US$900) in one hour. Ethereum, which has maintained the 800,000 won (US$720) level, fell down to 650,000 won.
After the news release on investigation into Upbit, the prices of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Eos, Litecoin declined by approximately 10 percent.
Prices of foreign cryptocurrencies dropped as well, because Upbit is the top cryptocurrency exchange in the domestic market and ranks fourth in the glove. The market capitalization of Bitcoin, which stood at 170.7 trillion won (US$153 billion) at midnight on May 11, decreased to 158.597 trillion won (US$142 billion) at 5.00 p.m. on the same day. Ethereum also dropped to 73 trillion won (65 billion) from 81 trillion won (US$72 billion).
On the day, the Seoul Southern District prosecutors’ Office announced that it raided Upbit to collect evidence that supports the allegations of fraud and manipulation of private digital records. The prosecutors believe that Upbit sold more cryptocurrencies than the amount they actually had reported. The prosecutors, which has secured computer hard disks and accounting books of Upbit, plans to investigate whether Lee Suk-woo, representative of Dunamu that operates Upbit, is involved in the matter.