Crypto Policy Is on the Agenda in Seoul as South Koreans Head to the Polls

Platforms of both major parties mention digital assets during a campaign that is historically close.

AccessTimeIconMar 9, 2022 at 8:45 a.m. UTC
Updated Mar 9, 2022 at 3:33 p.m. UTC

South Koreans are voting Wednesday in a presidential election that pollsters and observers say is the closest in the country's democratic history, with a record-high turnout.

  • During the campaign, both major parties announced crypto policy in a bid to get young voters out to the polls.
  • The Democratic Party’s Lee Jae-myung pledged to use security token offerings as a way to create a dividend from real estate speculation distributed to the public.
  • In his official booklet of campaign pledges, Lee promised to "issue tokenized securities to give ill-earned profits from real estate speculation back to the people" and "give citizens the opportunity to invest in large-scale state development projects."
  • Lee vowed in January to establish a "digital asset management and supervision agency," but this has since been toned down to "a monitoring agency” of sorts.
  • Lee has also said he would consider bringing back initial coin offerings (ICO), which were banned in South Korea in 2017.
  • People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl pledged to raise the threshold for a crypto capital gains tax to be the same as equities, KRW 52.4 million or US$42,450.
  • Currently a 20% tax on crypto gains made in a one year period kicks in at a threshold of KRW 2.5 million ($2,024).
  • Yoon has also promised to "take legal measures to confiscate crypto profits gained through illegitimate means and return them to the victims."
  • The Korea Herald reported that voter turnout had already passed 60% by 1 p.m local time, which includes two days of early voting.
  • This is higher than the 55.5% turnout during the last election in 2017.

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