In terms of the countries that comprise the “cutting edge” in the cryptocurrency arena, Asia leads the race with the largest concentration of adoption, with Japan arguably the most accepting of this young financial technology. Singapore is similarly progressive, and South Korea was likely the primary country to lead 2017’s altcoin boom by a wide margin.
Since the cryptocurrency craze enveloped South Korea, the government has sought to pump the brakes as fraudulent ICOs and other economic threats proliferate. The way they’re doing so is similar to China’s methodology, but not quite the same, giving hope to those watching from within the country and beyond.
While China has banned cryptocurrency outright and forced successful ICOs to return funds to their investors, South Korea has taken a very American approach to the dilemma—which is to say they haven’t done much at all. South Korean citizens have proven themselves vocal in the past about their penchant for cryptocurrency, even gathering over 100,000 signatures in opposition against the Ministry of Justice’s plans to pursue a China-like ban.
The gambit worked, with lawmakers blinking in the face of massive opposition to a ban while concurrently recognizing that the technology could have resoundingly positive effects if managed correctly. Some South Korean legislators have publicly pointed to the immense demand among their constituent entrepreneurs for the innovation that ICOs deliver.
Embers of Crypto Interest Unextinguished in SK
After taking its cue from other large economies like the US, which have effectively stemmed the rising tide of crypto interest with an intentionally undefined and ambiguous regulatory status, South Korea has taken its first step towards a better definition for crypto within its borders. This is great news to those who opine that the advent of common regulations for crypto among G20 countries will be the catalyst for the next bull run.
However, these predictions should always come with a grain of salt. It’s arguably more important for stable legal and financial frameworks to be developed for the protection of consumers first, and the health of the market second. With this in mind, the announcement of South Korea’s Blockchain Law Society is an optimistic sign that the country may soon begin to address cryptocurrency with renewed vigor.
From a more speculative viewpoint, the group’s founding also lends hope to the notion of a “return to the norm” in the Korean cryptocurrency market (that is to say, bullish). However, a 2017-like scenario where cryptocurrency is returned to the golden Wild West days shouldn’t be expected.
The first meeting of the Blockchain Law Society will be Friday, August 24, where the group’s founding judges, lawyers, politicians, and industry experts will likely begin discussions with crypto taxation. Other topics on the docket will include smart contracts along with their prospective relevancy to business, and of course ICOs.
A Will to Work on Evolving Crypto Policy
Another purpose of the group is to attract discussion and collaboration from top experts in new fields, professors, and researchers, thus expanding their collective authority for determining blockchain and cryptocurrency policy going forward. This is a superb signal for those who believed the South Korean government would sit on the fence forever, but it isn’t unanticipated. The formation of the Blockchain Law Society comes at a very favorable time, especially following a South Korean government decision to approve a $918 million budget for investment in AI, big data, and blockchain.
Collaborations and productive projects formed with the help of the recently formed Blockchain Law Society would surely be eligible for a piece of this pie. Apart from assisting in an advisory capacity for the country’s nascent crypto infrastructure, these allocations could also support the provision of safe and compliant blockchain services while helping promote clarity in terms of how crypto corresponds with the status quo.
Blockchain Law Society Rides the Rising Tide of Crypto Enthusiasm
Though one should temper their expectations for an instant policy reversal, it is optimistic to see so many prominent influencers throughout the country joining the ranks of the Blockchain Law Society. The exclusive club couldn’t have formed at a more opportune moment either, with interest in crypto again being resurrected at a time when positive news from within the government lends further momentum and credibility.
The upcoming Block Seoul conference is set to be one of the most attended yet, with thousands of people already signed up to hear from the biggest names in the space. The enormously popular South Korean event has managed to attract names such as Jimmy Wales—founder of Wikipedia—and the former director of the United States CIA Michael Hayden, among others, to come give their expert opinions on the growing trend. South Korea is also witnessing a surge of interest from the financial sector relating to cryptocurrency, with its watchdog group the FSS (Financial Supervisory Service) coming out in support of blockchain-aided stock trading earlier this month.
The opening meeting of the Blockchain Law Society in South Korea is just another feather in the cap of the country’s infant cryptocurrency market, which many believe is only temporarily inconvenienced by its lack of regulations. The increased interest among South Korea’s socio-political influencers may indicate that these believers are correct. South Korea’s refusal to make moves on cryptocurrency is itself the worst move it could make, and it’s about time the once-progressive country gets ahead of the curve again, because it has some lost ground to regain in short order.