South Korea’s coronavirus outbreak is playing havoc with blockchain’s legislative evolution, too.

The Korean-language blockchain news outlet TokenPost reports that the passing of revisions to the Financial Transactions Reporting Act (FTRA), originally scheduled to be passed during the ongoing extraordinary parliament, has been put on the backburner as lawmakers focus on dealing with the outbreak.

During a plenary session on Feb. 26, South Korea’s legislature passed revisions to a trio of laws to combat infectious diseases such as Covid-19. Observers had hoped lawmakers would pass revisions to the FTRA during the session, but the emergency measures pushed that matter back.

Prior to the plenary session, the National Assembly building was closed on Feb. 24 and 25 to conduct disinfection operations.

All this means that the last chance to pass revisions to the FTRA will be this Wednesday and Thursday, when the parliament hosts its final legislative affairs and plenary sessions, respectively. After that, the general election in April will make it difficult to pass any legislation. The proposed revisions would automatically die and the next parliament would have to start the process all over again.

The proposed revisions to the FTRA, which call for — among other things — the registration of cryptocurrency exchanges, are seen as a first step in the mainstreaming of cryptocurrency in South Korea.

They are also seen as something needed to keep South Korea in the good graces of the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT), the intergovernmental organization set up to combat money laundering and other nefarious financial dealings.

Last June, the FAFT issued a set of guidelines that called on governments to enact measures to prevent the laundering of money or funding of terrorism through cryptocurrency exchanges. If South Korea fails to take such measures, it could find itself on the FAFT’s blacklist, which would cause all sorts of headaches when the county engages in financial transactions with other FAFT member states.

The FAFT will convene a general assembly in June. Member states will be evaluated on how well they implemented anti-laundering guidelines.

The FTRA absolutely must be passed as it’s a very important matter for not just the industry, but for national credit standing,” said a cryptocurrency industry official to the TokenPost. “If the FTRA revisions are passed, it would boost the credibility and transparency of the cryptocurrency industry.”

Also in the Korean blockchain space…

  • South Korea’s NH Bank Debuts Samsung-backed Blockchain ID System
    (By Helen Partz, Cointelegraph, Feb. 27)
    NongHyup Bank is debuting a blockchain-based mobile decentralized ID card for its employees. The card represents the first commercial use of DID by the Initial DID Association, a consortium that includes Samsung Electronics, KEB Hana Bank, Woori Bank, KOSCOM, SK Telecom, KT and LG UPlus. Cointelegraph writes, “Based on blockchain technology, the new mobile ID system is designed to provide better control of staff’s personal information and protect their personal data while enabling handy authentication via a smartphone instead of a traditional ID card.”
  • South Korean tax experts propose gradual two-step crypto taxation
    (By Steve Kaaru, CoinGeek, Feb. 26)
    The government consultancy body Korean Taxation Policy Association is calling for the gradual imposition of taxes on cryptocurrency trading. It also expressed its support for the government’s plan to tax profits from cryptocurrency trading as transfer income. This contrasts with countries like the United States, which taxes cryptocurrency as property.