Min Byung-Doo, a high-ranking politician who is also the chairman of Korea’s National Policy Committee, has called for the government to “open up the road” when it comes to the cryptocurrency market, according to a recent report. The report also explained that Min Byung-Doo, a member of the Minjoo Party of Korea– also known as the “Democratic Party” – will be introducing new ICO legislation to the National Assembly, as well.
South Korea’s Ambivalence
Unlike other Asian jurisdictions, who have taken a clearer stance with regards to cryptocurrency – South Korea has been a bit more ambiguous when it comes to cryptocurrency and its future. While Japan has declared bitcoin as a legal form of payment, and China has cracked down on ICOs – South Korea has remained a little more unsure about which direction it plans on going with regards to initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency in general. This latest report suggests that this perspective might be shifting, as Min Byung-Doo is a respected Korean politician who can potentially add some political credibility when it comes to easing up regulations.
This lack of understanding around cryptocurrency is even more interesting, given the context that South Korean traders have, in the past, paid more for bitcoin by significant percentages, a phenomenon known globally as the “kimchi premium”.
In addition, surveys indicate that a significant proportion of the millennial population in the country are excited about the prospects of cryptocurrency, and are also interested in potentially investing in the sector, as well.
Min Byung-Doo has had conversations with the government and the Financial Services Commission (FSC) already, suggesting that prohibition is “not the only way”. The report also seems to imply that the authorities’ views have changed on the matter as well. Byung-doo also was quick to point out that the fact that Korea could be a major blockchain player, but its influence is limited because of legislation.
This latest discussion is not a new one, however as regulators have gone back and forth about the cryptocurrency industry and ICOs for some time. Specifically, the FSC banned ICOs in September 2017, claiming that they require more oversight. Although there have been rumors that the Korean government might reverse this ban, no substantial decision has been made as of yet.