South Korea's national legislature was the site of a public hearing on Tuesday in which recently proposed cryptocurrency regulation saw new discussion.
According to local media reports, Korean lawmaker Park Yong-jin used the forum, over which he presided, to call for consumer protections to be added to the bill. Aimed at laying the groundwork for regulation in South Korea, the public hearing comes two weeks after Park first unveiled the plan, which would capture cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether.
Panelists in the hearing includes lawyers, professors, an official from South Korea's top financial regulator (the Financial Services Commission), as well as a victim of a cryptocurrency-related Ponzi scam.
As such, much of the focus of the talk was on strengthening consumer protections for industry startups and technologists.
Park, in particular, voiced concerns that trader protection is a difficult task without a legal basis, stating:
"Without a legal framework, we can neither regulate, nurture, nor support the cryptocurrency-related industries. Also, the legal vacuum prevents those who committed virtual currency-related crimes from being punished."
Still, there were positive remarks as well. Jung Sun-seop, a professor of law at Seoul National University and director of its Center for Financial Law, argued that the law should legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.
Lee Dae-ki, a researcher at the Korea Institute of Finance, argued that the trading and brokering of cryptocurrency should be regulated prior to the currency itself, due to their potential for criminal abuse.
Likewise, Chae Won-hee, a representative of a group of Ponzi scheme victims, said the punishment on cryptocurrency-related criminals should be toughened to prevent financial scams.
Kim Yeon-june, representing the FSC, said the government had yet to decide whether a cryptocurrency should be brought under financial regulations.
Korean national assembly building via Shutterstock