South Korea has had a particularly trying year with cryptocurrencies. First it said, it was all set to embrace it, then it clamped down on exchanges, and then the country started taking baby steps towards regulations.
But one area, where it has remained consistent is, when it adopted a hard stance against Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) last year. However, this may all change soon. A handful of legislators are leading the talk to legalizing ICOs.
According to a report by Business Korea, Min Byung-doo, a lawmaker from the ruling Democratic Party who chairs the National Policy Committee of the National Assembly, and Roh Woong-rae, another DP lawmaker who leads the Science, ICT, Broadcasting, and Communications Committee, are leading a parliamentary move to legalize ICOs.
The duo recently, hosted a forum on blockchain at the National Assembly Library. The forum was supported by the Korea Blockchain Industry Association, Open Blockchain Industry Association, Yeosijae (Future Consensus Institute), which is a private think tank, and Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association.
Along the sidelines of the event, Min 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.”
Addressing how the Korean government failed to take into account the blockchain industry, Min said, “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.”
Roh chimed in saying, “After the government has banned ICOs, blockchain startups have been going abroad. There are growing concerns that the government’s regulations are nipping the bud of the blockchain industry, a key sector of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Although this sounds great on paper, only time will tell if ICOs will eventually become a part of the cryptocurrency market in South Korea.
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