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South Korea Bill Pushes Legalization of New ICOs after 2017 Ban

Last Updated May 16, 2023 9:31 AM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated May 16, 2023 9:31 AM

A group of lawmakers led by a politician from Korea’s ruling political party is drafting a bill to legalize the launch of new cryptocurrencies and ICOs in the country.

According to a report by The Korea Times , Rep. Hong Eui-rak of the Democratic Party of Korea, the political camp in power, is leading the charge – through the parliament – to challenge the government’s ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) in September 2017.

Hong has the support of 10 other lawmakers in the Korean parliament and aims to have a final draft of the bill for submission before the end of the year.

Speaking at a forum focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech at the National Assembly in Seoul on Wednesday, Hong revealed a joint study between the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), a non-profit Korea’s largest trade body, and his own office was the basis behind the bill.

Hong insists that the proposed legislation to legalize new ICOs will be under the government’s direct scrutiny.

The lawmaker said:

“The bill is aimed at legalizing ICOs under the government’s supervision[…] The primary goal (of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.”

Further, the report suggests that the bill favors ICOs stemming from public organizations and research centers that are ‘committed to promoting and developing blockchain technology’. Government agencies including the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Korea’s financial regulator, and the Ministry of Science and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) will wield powers to supervise these ICOs, the bill reportedly conveys.

Taking a cue from China’s own blanket ban on all ICOs, South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), the country’s financial watchdog under the FSC, enforced its ban in late September claiming it was doing so protect domestic investors from fraud.

“We are worried about adverse effects such as increased risk of fraud,” FSS vice chairman Kim Yong-bum said at the time. “The ICO will be prohibited in all forms.”

Nonetheless, regulators have since considered reversing the ban in a change of tact from such restrictive curbs. Korea is among the world’s most active crypto trading markets and has seen cryptocurrencies firmly permeating into Korean society among everyday adopters and retail investors.

Indeed, the rising prominence of cryptocurrencies was addressed during yesterday’s National Assembly by Speaker Chung Sye-kyun.

Calling on lawmakers to remove political barriers and curbs crippling their advent, Chung said:

“Blockchain and cryptos can be used in various public sectors for good causes. Given their potential, we need to work to help reduce political uncertainties they face.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.