The National Assembly of South Korea, which is the legislative branch of the government, is formally considering allowing ICOs back into the country again. The so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ special committee, operating within the National Assembly, even went as far as to claim that the government has ‘neglected its duty’ and failed to benefit from the ‘expansion of blockchain application’.
The ban came into effect eight months ago, in September 2017 as ICOs were deemed over-speculative, nigh-impossible to regulate and incompatible with capital laws. There were some reports earlier this year that the ban might be lifted but no actual measures have been taken so far.
Back in September, the ban was met with significant backlash and resulted in Korean crypto companies starting or moving their businesses abroad, often to ICO-friendly countries, such as Switzerland, Singapore or Malta. With Korea being among the most crypto-savvy nations in the world, the ICO ban sent shockwaves throughout the local crypto community, with many stakeholders lobbying for its removal ever since.
It seems that government has finally realized the enormous potential of the budding blockchain industry and reconsidered its approach, via the special committee recommendation, which is chaired by none other than Korean President Moon Jae-in.
According to reports from local news outlets, the discussions on blockchain technology will continue to accelerate between the National Assembly and the government and a task force will be formed, comprising of both public officials and private experts. Its aim will be to “improve transparency of cryptocurrency trading and establish a healthy trade order.“
The committee went on to add that, “The administration also needs to consider setting up a new committee and building governance systems at its level in a bid to systematically make blockchain policy and efficiently provide industrial support. We will also establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission of ICOs, through the National Assembly Standing Committee.“
The proposals for lifting the ICO ban came to publicity earlier this month as Hong Eui-rak, member of the ruling Democratic Party announced he had been drafting a bill to alleviate ICO regulation. Back then Hong claimed that the primary aim of the legislation was “helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.“
While the ICO ban resulted in numerous Korean crypto enterprises moving out of the country, lifting it will possibly see them return to their homeland, at least in some cases. Cooperating with the regulators has become an inevitable part of doing crypto-related business in Korea. Just yesterday the biggest digital currency exchange Bithumb banned users from 11 countries under the recommendation by the Korean officials.
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.