Korea Times: South Korea to legalise ICOs again

Posted: 22 March 2018 4:56 pm
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Insiders say Korea is set to lift last September's soft ICO ban, after laying down some ground rules.

Anonymous sources close to the issue say that South Korean lawmakers are preparing to allow ICOs back into the country, reports the Korea Times.

"The financial authorities have been talking to the country's tax agency, justice ministry and other relevant government offices about a plan to allow ICOs in Korea when certain conditions are met," the source reportedly said.

If implemented it would be a reversal of last September's policy of banning ICOs in the country. It was a soft-ban though, and only sparsely enforced according to Korea Times. ICOs weren't forced to return money, and Korean speculators were still allowed to invest in foreign ICOs.

Another source reportedly corroborated the claims, saying the ban would be lifted after some regulators laid down some ground rules.

"Various scenarios such as the imposition of value-added tax, a capital gains tax, or both on trade; and the collection of corporate tax from local cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as the initiation of authorized exchanges with licenses are being discussed," they said, adding that ICOs should be transparent, traceable and launched only with involvement from local banks, the justice and finance ministries and the tax agency.

Kang Young-soo, who oversees cryptocurrency trading policies at the Financial Service Commission (FSC), acknowledged the rumours but said the agency could make no official statement yet.

"There are many speculating about the possibility of allowing ICOs. The FSC has acknowledged a third-party view regarding the issue, but there's nothing that we can say officially at the moment," Kang said.

When the ICO ban was announced, local startups which had planned to raise seed money through them said they would raise funds overseas instead, Korea Times says. The soft nature of the ban which still allowed local speculators to invest in foreign projects meant that this might have been a relatively easy way to continue attracting capital from within the country, without the ban.

It makes sense that the ban would be reversed and that groundwork would be laid to ensure that it's all taxed and managed appropriately. This might be in keeping with the recent shift towards cryptocurrency normalisation in Korea and a thorough and pragmatic approach to cryptocurrency regulation.

Disclosure: At the time of writing the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC, NANO

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