The new bill was proposed in the wake of a major scandal involving government official Kim Nam-kuk, who was accused of liquidating more than $4 million worth of crypto assets before the country began enforcing its “Travel Rule” in March. This scandal has raised concerns about the transparency and accountability of government officials, which has led to a heightened interest in the new bill among the public.
On May 23, the Korean publication Yonhap News reported that People Power Party’s Representative Yun Jae-ok said the scheduled date for introducing the new crypto declaration rules, currently slated for December, isn’t prompt enough. Yun Jae-ok believes that the bill needs further revision and requires a new clause to bring the date of enforcement forward before it’s voted upon. This suggests that the bill may be subject to additional changes and revisions before it is finalized.
“Given the current high level of public interest, especially regarding lawmakers, it’s not appropriate to enforce the law six months later after the promulgation,” Yun Jae-ok said. This statement highlights the importance of timely and effective regulation of cryptocurrency holdings by government officials.
Under current rules, South Korean government officials must report stocks, bonds, jewelry, gifted memberships and other holdings worth more than 1 million Korean won ($760) but no such disclosure is currently required for cryptocurrencies and digital assets. The new bill seeks to address this gap in the current regulations by mandating the declaration of cryptocurrency holdings by government officials.
On May 15, Kim chose to step down from the opposing Democratic Party following the controversy. This resignation has further fueled concerns about the transparency and accountability of government officials and the need for effective regulation of cryptocurrency holdings.
South Korean officials have expedited regulation concerning cryptocurrencies and related digital assets since the collapse of Do Kwon’s Terra ecosystem in May last year. The most recent move from lawmakers has been the introduction of a wide-ranging new bill proposed in April that would seek to impose harsher penalties for crypto-related crimes with increased fines and sentences ranging from one year to life in prison. This shows that the South Korean government is taking a proactive approach towards regulating cryptocurrencies and related digital assets, and is committed to ensuring transparency and accountability among government officials and other stakeholders.
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