New Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Eun Sung-soo told senior officials on Tuesday that Seoul will accelerate its drive for innovation in the financial industry by allowing more fintech firms to offer products and services under light-touch regulation.
According to Yonhap News, he said the FSC would designate 100 financial products to be tested under the regulatory sandbox.
Crypto holders shouldn’t get too excited, though. During his confirmation hearing last month, Eun told lawmakers that while he would actively cultivate crypto-free blockchain projects through sandboxes and R&D support, he would continue the government’s de facto ban on ICOs. He also expressed concern about speculation and illegal activities involving cryptocurrency.
This led one clearly exasperated blockchain developer to tell Korean-language news website News1 that to divide blockchain and cryptocurrency to save one and kill the other was absurd and far removed from reality. The developer complained that by doing so, the government was saying only big companies with money should work on blockchain while turning developers who raised money through IPOs into criminals to be eliminated.
Meanwhile, Kim Se-jin of D.Street, the blockchain news site of Korea’s Maeil Gyeongje business daily, warns that even if the National Assembly passes proposed revisions to the Act on Report and on the Use of Specific Financial Transaction Information, there would still be legal holes that would render the institutionalization of cryptocurrency transactions difficult if not impossible. Moreover, the government has neither the personnel nor the will to get the real-name account system working again, as hoped for by cryptocurrency exchanges.
Oh, and the Bank of Korea told lawmakers on Tuesday that it feels little need to issue a Central Bank Digital Currency anytime in the near future.
For what it’s worth, Korea’s conservative main opposition party, the Liberty Korea Party (LKP), has unveiled a relatively forward-thinking policy statement in regards to cryptocurrency and exchanges.
In particular, the party called for the legalization of the cryptocurrency industry and the creation of clear regulations, including guidelines for ICOs and IEOs. Interestingly, the party also acknowledged — in stark contrast to existing government policy — that blockchain and cryptocurrency are inseparable. Of course, when you’re in the opposition, it’s easy to propose big ideas…
*Yes, we’re quoting The Smiths.
Also in the Korea blockchain space…
(By David Gilbert, Vice, Sept. 19)
North Korea is reportedly in the early stages of developing its own digital currency, apparently in a bid to get around international sanctions and the dollar-dominated global financial system. For Pyongyang’s efforts to pay off, however, it will need to show its partners around the world that it’s worth using its cryptocurrency.
(By Oliver Knight, Yahoo News, Sept. 22)
Major conglomerate CJ Group is turning to Amazon’s blockchain copyright platform Elemental Media Convert to store and manage copyright information. According to the report, the platform “will reportedly bring a higher level of transparency to music copyright management by providing storage tools.”
(By Osato Avan-Nomayo, Bitcoinist, Sept. 23)
Five of South Korea’s largest banks have joined JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN), a global banking ecosystem that “will focus on cost and transaction throughput reduction in cross-border payments.” The banks in question are Korea Development Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank and NongHyup Bank.