South Korean prosecutors said Monday that fugitive crypto executive Do Kwon is hiding in Serbia, according to reports.
He’s the founder of the Terraform Labs, and its Terra network collapsed in May.
South Korea and Serbia do not have an extradition treaty but have a history of agreeing to extradition requests.
Investors are rushing to exit from cryptocurrency exchanges following the fallout from FTX and other woes in the crypto world, withdrawing almost $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin last month, according to data from CryptoCompare.
In November, crypto investors sought safety of their assets by pulling 91,393 bitcoin
— worth close to $1.5 billion – off crypto exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase and Kraken despite the centralized exchanges attempting to distance themselves from the FTX collapse at the start of the month.
The data, which did not specify whether bitcoin was being sold or moved to private wallets, also showed 4,545 bitcoin withdrawn in the first week of December – a contrast from the same period last year, which CryptoCompare recorded inflows of 3,846 bitcoin.
Traders also withdrew 75,294 bitcoin in October after a dramatic summer where lenders Celsius and Voyager Digital went bankrupt and the Terra ecosystem failed.
The value of bitcoin has plummeted 63% so far this year, and is currently trading at almost $17,000 per bitcoin — levels that haven’t been seen since late 2020.
Industry experts say to expect more withdrawals in 2023.
“More and more crypto firms and exchanges find themselves with insufficient liquidity, leading to further bankruptcies and a collapse in investor confidence in digital assets,” said Eric Robertsen, global head of research at Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered, in a client note this week.
Hedge Fund Research (HFR), which tracks the returns of funds across the industry, says that hedge funds with high exposure to cryptocurrency across emerging market regions including South Korea, Russia, China, and the Middle East were forced to navigate historic dislocation as a result of the FTX exchange collapse.
It reported that its cryptocurrency index plunged 13.5% in November; the index has dropped over 50% in the year to date. In 2021, it had soared 240%.