PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS LEGAL STATUS FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY

The Presidential Committee on the 4th Industrial Revolution is calling on the government to recognize blockchain as an irresistible trend and is advising it to systematize encrypted assets, i.e., cryptocurrency.

Or so reports the Korean-language blockchain news site The Bchain.

The committee included its suggestions in a recommendation plan released at a conference in Seoul on Friday.

The committee said that technology, data and the startup ecosystem should synchronize to promote social and industrial innovation. On the technology side, it stressed that the government should pay attention to blockchain, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

In particular, the committee called for regulatory innovation and administrative improvements to activate startups, including giving legal status to encrypted assets.

It expressed concern that policies enacted to block excessive cryptocurrency speculation, perhaps necessary at the time, were now hurting the global competitiveness of Korea’s blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. It said the government should recognize blockchain as an irresistible trend and set its policy goals on taking early advantage of future opportunities.

The committee advised that from the perspective of global competitiveness, the government should promote the activation of technology and the systematization of encrypted assets. It called for the government to quickly create a legal status for encrypted assets and study taxation and accounting plans for them, as well as actively permit startups to participate in regulatory sandboxes.

How quickly the government will move on this is anyone’s guess.

Last Thursday, the National Assembly’s Finance Committee failed again to pass a revision to the Act on Reporting and Using Specified Financial Transaction Information, a regulation that deals with money laundering.

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A ruling party-backed revision would incorporate cryptocurrency into the act and create a registration system for cryptocurrency exchanges.

A lawmaker from Korea’s main opposition party, however, blocked passage of the revision. On the bright side, he said he didn’t oppose the revision, per se. But he felt the regulatory revision should be discussed along with an actual law on cryptocurrency.

Also on the bright side, the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Intelligence Unit announced last week that they would begin researching how to put the FATF’s guidelines into practice, something Korea’s cryptocurrency exchanges may already have started doing (see below).

ALSO IN THE KOREAN BLOCKCHAIN SPACE…

(By Joseph Young, CoinTelegraph, Oct. 25)

South Korea and Japan are pressuring exchanges to delist privacy-focused cryptocurrencies like Monero, Zcash and Dash. In Korea, OKEx Korea and Upbit have already delisted them, citing money laundering concerns. This is a trend that could spread thanks to the FAFT’s so-called “travel rule” that calls on exchanges to record customer information when they make transactions, including their name and location.

(By TokenPost, Oct. 25)

Korean bitcoin exchange, wallet and payment processing services provider Coinplug has raised about USD 6.4M from several major Korean financial institutions, including Mirae Asset Venture Investment, Smilegate Investment and KB Investment. Coinplug reportedly plans to use the funds to develop its decentralized identification technologies.

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(By Trevor Holman, CryptoNewsZ, Oct. 26)

A consortium of Korean, Chinese and Japanese companies led by iFang Korea will launch a blockchain-based ecosystem that would free foreign tourists to Korea’s Jeju Island from having to pay credit card transaction costs or conversion costs when converting their currency into Korean won. Additionally, iFang plans to develop other services to boost Jeju’s tourism sector.

(By Tim Alper, CryptoNews, Oct. 22)

The Financial Supervisory Service told South Korean lawmakers that there are over 800 corporate cryptocurrency accounts in operation. Several major cryptocurrency and business players have told Cryptonews.com in recent months that they expect the government to introduce pro-crypto business policies, or at least soften its stance within the next few years,” writes Tim Alper at CryptoNews. Most large companies in the nation have been building up their blockchain infrastructure in anticipation, while many media experts claimed that while the likes of Telegram and Facebook have found themselves mired down in regulatory red tape in their home countries, South Korean Internet giants like Naver (via its Japan-based Line affiliate) and Kakao have been forging away with mainnets and their own fast-growing cryptocurrency projects.”

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