South Korean President-Elect To Make Country A Crypto Hub

Suk-yeol Promises Better Crypto Policies

Yoon Suk-yeol of the conservative People Power Party (PPP), South Korea’s main opposition party, emerged as the President-elect of the country by a close margin against rival Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party. During one of the campaigns, Suk-yeol made some cryptocurrency promises.

In January, the President-elect, who was a former top prosecutor, pledged not to impose taxation on crypto trading below 50 million won ($40,703), which is raising the bar from the current threshold of 2.5 million won ($2,035). Suk-yeol also promised to allow initial coin offerings (ICOs), which are currently banned in the country.

The pro-crypto and soon-to-be President said:

“To realize the unlimited potential of the virtual asset market, we must overhaul regulations that are far from reality and unreasonable. We must shift to a negative regulation system to ensure at least the virtual asset market has no worries.”

According to Nikkei Asia, the South Korean President-elect will officially resume office in May 2022. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency advocates welcomed Suk-yeol’s crypto proposals, which many believe will pave the way for more opportunities and also boost cryptocurrency adoption.

The secretary-general of the Korea Blockchain Association, Yoon Seong-han, said that the ban on ICOs in South Korea caused several projects to move to Singapore (and other jurisdictions) in order to issue coins. Seong-han, however, believes that “ventures and startups will be able to raise money easily from investors [if the ban is lifted].”

Anndy Lian, who lives in Singapore and is the chairman of BigONE exchange, a Netherlands-based crypto trading platform, also welcomed Suk-yeol’s pro-crypto proposals, adding that the incoming President “understands the importance of crypto.”

Singapore Awaits Implementation of Suk-yeol’s Proposals

Many industry advocates in Singapore are skeptical about Suk-yeol’s pledges and prefer to wait and see if South Korea’s President-Elect will fulfill his promises concerning the burgeoning industry.

Speaking to Nikkei Asia, the emeritus-chairman of the Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Enterprises and startups Singapore, said “Action speaks louder than words. We need to see what they [South Korea] come up with.”

While Suk-yeol can execute some of the proposed crypto policies via presidential orders, the country’s National Assembly will have to revise the tax policy for his no-tax promise to come to fruition.

Also, the legislature will have to pass a bill that enables the creation of a digital assets regulator. Interestingly, the legislature is largely made up of the ruling Democratic Party and whether or not they will agree to pass such crypto reform policies remains unclear.

South Korean Crypto Exchanges Operating Under Stringent Regulations

The South Korean cryptocurrency industry has faced stringent regulations, with smaller exchanges struggling to operate in the country. Some firms have planned to relocate to friendlier jurisdictions to escape the harsh hostilities.

In June 2021, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) said that it would ban cross-trading on crypto business in South Korea, believing that such a move would prevent operators from price manipulation. However, crypto exchanges did not welcome the development, stating that the ban would adversely affect their businesses.

The FSC also gave exchanges until September 24 2021, to apply for a license, or cease operations in South Korea. Furthermore, the country’s incoming cryptocurrency tax policy, which imposes a 20% levy on crypto trading profits over 2.5 million won ($2,035), has been met with criticisms by industry stakeholders.

With the President-elect coming into power soon, the South Korean crypto industry is hopeful that Suk-yeol will fulfill his promises and make the country a crypto haven once again.

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