According to a report by Business Korea, South Korea’s ruling Democratic Party lawmakers Min Byung-doo and Roh Woong-rae are spearheading an initiative to convince the government to reverse the ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) enacted in Sept. 2017 and adopt a positive ICO regulation in line with crypto-friendly countries.
On Oct. 2, Min, who also serves as the chair of the National Policy Committee of the National Assembly, and Roh, head of the Science, ICT, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee, jointly hosted a blockchain forum at the National Assembly Library. They were joined by local blockchain and think tank leaders, which include Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association, Korea Blockchain Industry Association, Open Blockchain Industry Association, and Yeosijae (Future Consensus Institute).
Push for New Regulation
Speaking at the forum, Min drew a comparison with countries such as Singapore and Switzerland. He was spot on when he stated that cryptocurrencies have their good and bad points, but they can be handled properly by confident governments. He said:
“As blockchain and cryptocurrencies have merits and demerits, only confident governments can handle them properly. A case in point are Singapore, Switzerland, and France. These countries have opened up the road to ICOs for companies.”
The lawmaker expressed his concern over his government’s failure to speed up the reversal of the ban. According to Min:
“This is a very worrisome situation. A recent report shows that South Korea’s blockchain technology has fallen to the 75 percent level of the U.S.”
Min wants the new regulation to restore South Korea’s competitiveness in the ICO space while addressing contentious issues such as money laundering, financing of terrorism, speculation, and fraud.
The Asian country outlawed ICOs, accusing them of violating capital market laws. Reports surfaced in March that the ban might be lifted, but nothing has come out of it. The country is still where it was back then, except that the calls for revised regulation are growing louder.
The National Committee Policy is planning to hold a public hearing in November and use the feedback to draft new ICO and blockchain bills. Min wants the government to work closely with blockchain associations to address challenges within the space.
Roh, who reinforced Min’s remarks, said:
“The National Policy Committee and the Science, ICT, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee will work together to come up with measures that minimize side effects so that the blockchain industry can create jobs and play a leading role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
What New Regulation Could Mean for South Korea
If South Korea wants to be a major player in the blockchain space and play catch up with countries such as the US and Switzerland, it will have to embrace ICOs and draw up new blockchain bills that are beneficial to ICO start-ups, investors, and regulators.
Malta, a small European Island, has set itself apart as “Blockchain Island” and has seen new blockchain firms flocking to open businesses and create jobs in the country. China, which similarly with South Korea banned ICOs, has seen blockchain start-ups closing doors and moving to territories such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
Recently, India sent a delegation to Switzerland, Japan, and the UK to study how they regulate their crypto space. According to some Wall Street experts, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. Those that open their doors to them will benefit in the long run.