Beginning today and lasting until 26 July 2018, South Korean lawmakers will be submitting draft bills in a race to clarify regulations on initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Partisan blockchain supporters
According to a report from local media outlet The Korea Times, the National Assembly is expected to see a flurry of Korean political parties over this period proposing bills. Representative Park Yong-jin of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Chung Tae-ok of the main opposition Liberty Part Korea (LPK) and Choung Byoung-gug, member of the minor opposition of the Bareun Mirae Party, are apparently “most committed to the issue”.
Skepticism on whether or not any bills will make it to law is presumed to be on the basis that opinion is still “widely divided” on the matter, that and other more pressing political and economic concerns that South Korea is presently dealing with.
On 19 July, Rep Song Hee-kyung of the LPK will be hosting a policy debate giving focus to the security of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. Co-hosting the debate is the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA) who, since early July, has been inspecting crypto exchanges.
Regardless of the divide, this period will have profound impacts on moving discussions forward in a nation that is endlessly making blockchain- and cryptocurrency-related headlines. On 8 July, the nation’s financial watchdog released an official statement revealing that there had been significant revisions made its regulatory stance in line with G20 recommendations.
A day later, Bitcoin News reported that the South Korean Financial Services Commission (FSC) had brought forth new guidelines for cryptocurrency regulations in a new classification system for the industry as well as new anti-money laundering rules.
Regulating ICOs and looking ahead
Perhaps one of the most significant parts of the report from the Korea Times was the mention of ICO laws being proposed. Since September 2017, ICOs have been banned in the crypto-centric nation, however, in early May 2018, there were reports of key governmental figures and legislators were banding together to draft an ICO legalisation bill.
Motivations behind the legalisation bill were noble at best, South Korean companies were fundraising in overseas territories such as Switzerland and Singapore. However, this is expensive for the operators of these ICOs as well as creating risks of scams fraud ICOs to investors.
The regulatory response also comes shortly after two major cryptocurrencies exchanges fell victim to very costly hacks, forcing regulators and lawmakers to propose amendments to present legislation and tighten the monitoring of South Korean exchanges.
South Korea appears to be gearing up for a blockchain heavy future, despite the negative press that often causes strict and industry stifling regulations to be placed on exchanges, ICOs and cryptocurrencies, South Korea has proven time and again that rationality is key.
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