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South Korea Elects Pro-Crypto President

South Korea has just elected a crypto-friendly president amid the country’s ongoing tightening of crypto regulations.

2 min read
South Korea and Bitcoin. Image: Shutterstock

South Korea has elected Yoon Suk-yeol as the country’s next president. Yoon is a pro-crypto candidate who has pledged to overhaul “unreasonable” crypto regulations in the country. 

“We must overhaul regulations that are far from reality and unreasonable,” Yoon reportedly said in January this year. 

He added that South Korea should embrace a “negative regulation system” to ensure the crypto market “has no worries.” 

Yoon’s presidential success comes at a time when South Korea’s relationship with the crypto industry has featured several regulatory controversies. 

South Korea, crypto and regulation

Last march, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) said it wanted to crack down on crypto companies that weren’t doing enough to combat money laundering. 

Starting April 20, 2021, exchanges would face fines of between $26,000 to $52,000 if they did not report suspicious activity, or maintain a log on transactions. 

In June last year, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges were dealt a blow when the FSC said it would prevent cross trading on platforms. 

Exchanges feared such a rule would put them out of business, while the FSC believed that restricting cross trading would prevent crypto exchanges from price manipulation. 

Exchanges were given until September 24, 2021 to apply for a license—those who did not do so, were no longer allowed to operate in South Korea. 

Crypto in South Korean politics

Yoon may have won South Korea’s presidency, but he was not the only pro-crypto candidate in the race. 

Lee Jae-myung, another presidential candidate in South Korea’s race, turned to NFTs to fundraise his election campaign. 

“As the young generation in their 20s and 30s are interested in emerging technologies, including virtual assets, NFTs and the metaverse, this type of fundraising could appeal to them,” a Lee campaign official told Yonhap News earlier this year. 

“It is high time that we undertake innovative experiments to enhance our understanding of these future technologies and change perceptions of digital currencies and NFTs,” Lee also said.

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