Key point: Korean lawmaker Min Hyung-bae has proposed a bill that, if adopted, would represent a major change in the Korean government’s attitude toward the blockchain industry. To date, that attitude has been  at the risk of oversimplification  blockchain good, cryptocurrency bad.

The law could represent a major win for ICON, too. By reducing legal uncertainties and calming investors, it would encourage developers, financial companies, investors, and the person on the street to use ICX. Indeed, as one of Korea’s leading homegrown cryptocurrencies, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where ICON wouldn’t benefit enormously from a fuller government embrace of the crypto sector.

Lawmaker Min Hyung-bae of the ruling party Democratic Party announced Wednesday that he introduced a bill to cultivate the growth of the “digital asset industry” and protect its users.

The bill seeks to address the concerns of blockchain companies, investors, and other parties who criticize perceived government hostility towards cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

In particular, critics accuse the government of focusing simply on “regulating” a “virtual” (i.e., fake) market it mostly sees as an exercise in money laundering, while doing precious little to either promote a major potential growth industry or protect cryptocurrency investors.

Min’s bill would:

  • Define cryptocurrency as a “digital asset” rather than a “virtual asset.”
  • Call on the FSC and Minister of Science and ICT to formulate and execute plans to promote the digital asset industry and create a system to research, review and manage it.
  • Screen digital assets that have been issued (presumably to weed out the shitcoins and other dodgy assets) 
  • Create internal control standards to protect users and make digital asset deposits separate deposits.

Min said the blockchain industry should face lighter regulations compared to “vested” existing industries, but users must enjoy tighter protections.

He said the government should recognize cryptocurrency as an asset and use it as a future growth engine and driver of youth employment, while allowing investors to safely invest in digital assets.

The TokenPost noted that overseas countries recognize cryptocurrency as an asset and have introduced rational regulations and support policies to promote the sector. In the United States, for instance, they’re developing financial products like ETFs, while in Canada, they’ve launched bitcoin funds.

The Korean government, however, refuses to recognize cryptocurrency as either legal tender or an investment asset. Nor is it taking active measures to protect investors who fail to withdraw their funds from exchanges that could close after the September 24 registration deadline.