South Korea is one of those countries that has maintained a negative stance on digital currencies and Initial Coin Offerings. The country even imposed a ban on ICOs in September 2017. According to the article that has been published on Business Korea on October 4 2018, the National Assembly is trying to convince the government about the removal of the ban on ICOs as this ban will affect the competitiveness of South Korea in future.
Ban on ICOs Lead to the Migration of Startups to Abroad
Min Byung-Doo, ruling democratic party (DP) of South Korea lawmaker and also the chair of NPC (national policy committee) from the National Assembly and Roh Woong-rae, member of DP also leads the ICT, Science, Broadcasting and Communications Committee is forcing the government of South Korea to legalize the ICOs.
Both Min and Roh hosted a forum on 2nd of October on the Blockchain technology at National Assembly Library. The forum garnered support from various private organizations like Yeosijae, the Open Blockchain Industry Association, Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association and the Korea Blockchain Industry Association.
The forum raised a lot of issues regarding the regulations of South Korea against cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The Ministry of Science and Information Communication Technology (ICT) of South Korea has already announced that it would increase the funding from the government to support the domestic blockchain projects in the month of September 2018. Min has stated that the government neglected this sector completely. He also admitted the report stating that South Korea’s progress in the Blockchain technology has fallen down to 75 per cent of the US progress.
Most of the Blockchain technology-based startups and companies have also left South Korea after the ban on ICOs. The companies have moved to the cryptocurrency friendly countries like Switzerland and Malta. Roh said that “After the ban on the ICOs in South Korea the blockchain startups are going abroad “.
There are a lot of concerns growing against the government ban on ICOs because the regulations are nipping the bud of blockchain industry which is very important for the Fourth Industry Revolution.
The government of South Korea is also keen on lifting the ban on the ICOs. ZDNet has announced on October 4th, 2018 that the government of South Korea is planning to establish a Blockchain center in Seoul, capital of South Korea. This Blockchain center will be hosting nearly 200 companies and they are also planning to fund the cryptocurrency industry with 100 billion Won which is $88 million approximately. Because of the government’s ban on ICO and the talent moving abroad it will be still harder for the government to implement the Blockchain center and attract the right persons.
Lawmakers are In Search of a Right Solution
The South Korean government has already thought of the plan to lift the ban on ICOs and there have been so many discussions regarding this matter since March 2018 but there was very little progress.
Business Korea stated that the National Policy Commission are confident enough that they will be bringing in the solution to this problem. The committee is planning to draft a bill about this issue and hold a meeting in the public in November 2018. The main goal is to bring in all the relevant organizations and associations like National Policy Commission, The Science, ICT Broadcasting and Communications committee to come up with various means that will help in counteracting any adverse effects.
Roh is hoping that the public hearing will make sure that the South Korean blockchain will flourish and creates new jobs in the country.