South Korea Urgently Needs Crypto Legislation, Lawyer Association Says

A legal framework would help the development of the virtual asset market and ensure investor protection, according to the KBA.

The Korean Bar Association (KBA) has called on the central government to introduce cryptocurrency legislation without delay to facilitate market development and protect investors, Reuters reported on Thursday.

At a special news conference held in the parliament building, the professional organization of South Korean lawyers said such legislation would help the high-tech nation make the most of opportunities presented by virtual assets.

This was a rare move for the trade body as it typically refrains from lobbying for a particular industry or economic group. The KBA held the crypto briefing in an attempt to put pressure on lawmakers.

“We urge the government to break away from negative perceptions and hesitation, and draw up bills to help develop the blockchain industry and prevent side effects involving cryptocurrencies,” KBA president Kim Hyun said.

South Korea houses some of the world’s largest digital exchanges, among them Bithumb and UpBit.  The government’s response to cryptocurrencies has been mixed. In July, it officially recognized the crypto industry, but several weeks later, the Ministry for Small and Medium Enterprises proposed that blockchain businesses, including crypto exchanges, be removed from the startup classification list, thus depriving them of the opportunity to claim tax cuts of up to 100%.

On a legislative level, several MPs want a partial lift of the initial coin offerings (ICO) ban, but their initiative is still an idea, and no bill has been tabled in parliament so far.

Another draft bill, which contains the first-ever Korean cryptocurrency law, has been waiting for a vote since March. The legal initiative aims to give the Financial Services Commission (FSC) new powers, but to monitor the virtual markets rather than promote their growth, according to FSC head Hong Seong-ki.

Reading now