South Korea’s Financial Regulator Reveals ICO Ban Will Be Maintained

Francisco Memoria

South Korea is reportedly maintaining its ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) as the country’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has recently found some projects broke the ban, and concluded the offerings are highly risky for investors.

According to a recently published press release, the FSC has discovered cryptocurrency startups have been illegally raising funds from South Korean investors. This, according to a survey conducted by the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).

The FSS has reportedly sent a questionnaire to 22 cryptocurrency-related firms that conducted ICOs in foreign countries, and got replies from 13. These held their token sales in the second half of 2017, and raises a total of $509 million, according to CoinDesk.

The survey reportedly found that some projects set up companies in Singapore to circumvent the ICO ban and raise funds from South Korean investors. The findings were corroborated by marketing materials such as white papers, written in Korean.

Moreover, the agency’s research found some ICO projects didn’t reveal important information to investors, including financial statements. This, coupled with the significant decline tokens issued through the fundraising practice have seen, saw the risk of investing in ICOs be deemed high.

The document states:

The government has taken a cautious stance on the institutionalization of ICOs. We will stick to it.

South Korea initially ban ICOs back in September of 2017. Last year, the country’s national assembly made an official recommendation to lift the ban, in a move that was seen as bullish in the market as soon after reports suggested South Korea could loosen its rules on cryptocurrencies and indeed lift the ban.

In October, however, Choi Jong-koo, the chairman of the FSC, reaffirmed the Korean government’s negative stance towards ICOs, and revealed the organization believed the ban should be maintained. Despite South Korea’s approach, it has been planning to tax cryptocurrencies.