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South Korea Sets November Date for ICO Legal Status

South Korea Sets November Date for ICO Legal Status

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The legal status of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in South Korea will be decided on in November, according to a government official.


According to a local media outlet, Hong Nam-ki, chief of the Office for Government Coordination, provided insight with regards to the government’s position on ICOs. In September, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) began surveying domestic blockchain companies to gather their expertise and opinions on the present framework.

Speaking at the annual South Korean National Assembly audit, Hoong said that officials in the pro-blockchain nation have held several discussions on ICOs adding, “Once the survey results are in by end-October, we plan to finalize the government’s stance.”

Revealing of domestic blockchain ambitions for the decision, Hong said, “We did the survey as some companies are conducting or preparing for ICOs despite the ban here.”


In September, the FSS reserved a bullish position on ICOs when FSS Governor Yoon Suk-heun spoke with international regulators in Seoul. At this meeting, he suggested an “international discipline system” for virtual currencies and ICOs.

During questioning, member of the ruling Democratic Party Jeon Haecheol backed the lifting of the ban saying, “If we waste time, the blockchain industry could face huge difficulties. We need to look at very realistic and specific ways to nurture the blockchain industry, and I think permitting ICOs is one of them.”

This argument echoes previous statements made by other Democratic party members. Last week, Min Byung-Doo spoke before the National Assembly and made a firm case for ICOs in South Korea, believing the ban would only damage the nation’s fast-emerging and innovative blockchain industry, impacting its position as a global player.

Most recently, the chairman of the Korean Blockchain Association also presented ICOs as a way to boost the economy and create new jobs, urging for the government to nurture the domestic blockchain industry, not stifle it with overcautious regulation.


However, the divisive issue of ICOs remains just that in South Korea, despite the nation demonstrating blockchain excellence time and time again. The chief of the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Chairman Choi Jong-ku, recently revealed a firm anti-ICO stance.

Speaking at the annual parliamentary meeting, local media outlet Yonhap News quoted Choi saying: “Although many people call for the government to allow initial coin offerings, there are still uncertainties related to such a move as well as the possibility of serious fallouts.”

That said, it is important to note that the chairman isn’t necessarily anti-blockchain. As reported, he believes it’s not necessary to equate virtual currencies and blockchain. It is a similar attitude to that of China who banned cryptocurrencies and ICOs altogether but has been adopting blockchain at accelerating rates.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t appear to have thwarted crypto-enthusiasm in the nation. With some startups launching cryptocurrencies regardless of the ban, South Korea could find itself in a similar position as China has should the ban remain in place.


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