OKEx Korea is shutting down next month

Crypto exchange OKEx Korea is shutting down on April 7.

In a notice published Tuesday, the exchange said customers must withdraw their fiat and crypto holdings by the date.

"After the end of the service, OKEx Korea will not be held liable for any losses arising from failure to withdrawal by customers," said the exchange.

OKEx Korea did not mention a reason for the closure, but it is likely because of a new law that is coming into effect on Thursday in South Korea. Per the law, Korean crypto exchanges will no longer be able to share their order books with other exchanges.

New anti-money laundering rules are also coming into force on Thursday in the country. Crypto businesses have until September to register with the Financial Services Commission, or they will face penalties.

After the publication of this story, an OKEx Korea official told The Block that not only were there regulatory issues, but also business difficulties.

"We struggled to get ISMS [Information Security Management System certificate] and virtual account [bank account required to get licensed]," said the official. "As a joint venture company with OKEx.com, it was hard to decide, but we had no other option."

Binance Korea also shut down earlier this year, after launching in April 2020. OKEx Korea was launched in August 2019 and had meager volumes of around $3.5 million in the last 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.

Rival Huobi Korea could likely follow suit. The exchange hasn't responded to The Block's queries. It had higher volumes of around $125 million in the last 24 hours, according to CoinGecko.

Still, these volumes are tiny compared to the main exchanges Huobi and OKEx, which have done $7 billion and $6 billion worth of trading volumes, respectively, in the last 24 hours, per CoinGecko.