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BY Fintan Ng - October 3, 2018

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South Korean lawmaker asks for ICOs to be regulated

Momentum gathering in South Korea for ICO ban to be lifted
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There is hope that South Korea may ease the ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) imposed a year ago, with the chairman of the government’s national policy committee calling for it to be regulated.

According to the JoongAng Ilbo news publication, Min Byung-doo of the governing Democrat Party, who chairs the committee, says the ban is driving out promising blockchain startups from the country.

Min, who spoke during a plenary session of the National Assembly, South Korea’s legislative arm, is proposing that measures be taken against fraud, speculation and money laundering using ICOs rather than an outright ban.

He will raise the issue of the ban with the country’s integrated financial regulator, the Financial Supervisory Service.

Min’s proposal for the lifting or easing of the ICO ban is not new. In mid-August, the governor of the semi-autonomous province of Jeju, Won Hee-ryong, proposed that the province, which is made up of the island of Jeju, be made into a blockchain hub allowing ICOs.

On a related matter, Min also asked that the National Assembly pass the laws on blockchain industry promotion quickly.

According to earlier reports, lawmakers submitted drafts of bills on cryptocurrencies, ICOs and blockchain technology during an extraordinary session of the legislature from July 13 to July 26.

The initiatives came following news that the government planned to introduce a classification system for blockchain technology under the Korea Standard Industry Classification that policymakers, statisticians and interested stakeholders can refer to.

However, earlier reports noted that doubts remained over whether these bills will be passed into law, as opinion remains divided on cryptos and ICOs, especially since two South Korean exchanges were the targets of hacks in June that saw investors losing more than US$70mil.

South Korea has one of the most vibrant crypto trading communities globally, with a significant portion of the population invested in cryptocurrencies.

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