South Korea’s National Assembly Holds Crypto Debate

 South Korea’s representative arm of government, the National Assembly, held the country’s first official cryptocurrency debate on December 10, 2018.

The meeting organized by seven (7) of the country’s largest local cryptocurrency exchanges – Upbit, Bithumb, Gopax, CobitCoin, Coinone, Coinplug and Hanbitco; had in attendance a host of major government officials, politicians, crypto entrepreneurs as well as the country’s financial watchdog – the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Major Talking Points

The debate focused its discuss on the regulatory scope of the government as regards cryptocurrency and other activities within the sector, as exchange operators look to maintain the current vibrant relationship with the government.

In the course of proceedings, operators of the various crypto exchanges expressed dissatisfaction over the non-implementation of the FSC’s November ruling. The ruling delegates commercial banks to service crypto exchanges and provide cryptocurrency virtual accounts to customers as soon as adequate Anti-Money Laundering policies, customer protection and Know Your Customer (KYC) practices are made available. However, operators claim non-compliance on the part of banks as most small exchanges still struggled to obtain stable banking services despite the FSC’s order.

The operators further requested a review of the strict capital control policy which they say has hindered cryptocurrency investors from sending large amounts abroad using banking services; a move which by extension restricts the ability of local cryptocurrency exchanges to expand into overseas markets.

Other highlights include an appeal against the country’s strict Initial Coin Offering (ICO) policy as well as a call for government to maintain careful legislation in a bid to prevent over-regulation of the industry.

South Korea’s Favourable Government Backing

Notably, throughout the year the government of South Korea has aggressively supported the development of blockchain technology within its shores. Recent reports quote the South Korean government has invested about 1 trillion Won ($880 million USD) for blockchain development.

According to the government, its commitment is hinged on the recognition of blockchain technology as one of the four pillars of the Fourth Industrial Revolution; an assertion which it has supported by heading projects in the sector, creating a vibrant sphere for crypto start ups and recruiting young nationals into the country’s crypto work force.

From all indications, this involvement by the government, has bred trust in the sector as users now express more confidence in exchanges and cryptocurrencies. Statistics also show a rapid growth in South Korea’s crypto industry with its local exchanges hitting an average of over $1.4 billion in daily trade volume, making up about 30% of total cryptocurrency trading worldwide.

 

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