South Korean Government Continues to Scale Back Anti-Crypto Rhetoric

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South Korean Government Continues to Scale Back Anti-Crypto Rhetoric

By Tim AlperMay 19, 2021

South Korean Government Continues to Scale Back Anti-Crypto Rhetoric 101
Statue of the Lying Buddha of Miamsa Temple in Naesan-myeon, Buyeo-gun, South Korea. Source: Adobe/Yeongsik Im

Hong Nam-ki, the South Korean Deputy Prime Minister and the nation’s finance minister, has spoken about government plans to create more opportunities for young people – including on “domestic asset markets.”

In a carefully worded statement, Hong, the Hankook Ilbo reported, spoke of the “necessity of reinforcing policy” and “support” for the “domestic asset market, which young people have a high level of interest in.” The statement was a sharp turnaround from much more fiery rhetoric from earlier this year, when Hong was urging investor “caution” and blasting “overheated” markets.

Although he did not specify which “assets” he was referring to – likely purposefully – Hong spoke of creating a “’ladder of economic hope” for young, potentially “vulnerable” and disenfranchised South Koreans, many of whom are on the verge of turning on the government at next year’s Presidential Elections on the issue of crypto policy.

Many young South Koreans have turned to crypto in the bear market, claiming that the job market for graduates has turned stagnant and the stock market holds little value for low-cap investors. The government has also been blamed for sky-high real estate prices, which have put property in many areas out of the reach of younger buyers.

Hong’s “youth ladder,” the Deputy PM stated, would be made up of three principle rungs, namely: “employment, housing and asset accumulation.”Young South Koreans have been outraged by government talk about further regulating the crypto sector, as well as a forthcoming 20% flat-rate crypto tax on annual profits over USD 2,100.Opposition lawmakers have gleefully jumped at the chance to accuse the government of mishandling the situation, while senior ruling party officials have been looking for a way to make a climbdown.Hong has been outspoken on crypto regulation in the past, but his latest comments appear to suggest that he too is prepared to soften his stance, adding that “policy on domestic asset market-related, which is of high interest to young people” would be subject to review.Over the weekend, a crisis meeting of senior members of the executive was held in the office of the Prime Minister to consider a range of crypto-themed private members’ bills that have been put before the nation’s parliament.And with yet another crypto-themed private members’ bill incoming at the National Assembly, it appears the decision-makers will have yet more draft legislation to consider.EDaily reported that in addition to two draft bills that were tabled earlier this month, the ruling Democratic Party MP Yang Kyung-sook, a member of the parliament’s Planning and Finance Committee, as well as the Women and Family Committee, is also set to table a new bill.

The media outlet quoted a Korea Blockchain Association official as predicting that yet more “similar” draft laws would likely be forthcoming, leading lawmakers to “discus merging” their bills “in the future.”


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