Business 15 August 2018

Paul How

Jeju Island wants to be South Korea crypto capital

Governor Won Hee-ryong of Jeju Island in South Korea has made an official proposal for the island to become the country’s hub for cryptocurrencies and blockchain in general.

In a meeting that included the country’s Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for Economy Kim Dong-yeon, Won asked that initial coin offerings (ICOs) be permitted in his jurisdiction, even though token crowdsales have been banned in the country since September 2017 due to concerns of fraud.

According to a JoongAng Daily report, Won cited the value of the technology in saving on transfer fees, saying, “Blockchain can cut costs, provide stable transactions and essentially has the potential to become a game changer that could alter the ecosystem of the internet platform industry.”

The governor also pointed out that promoting cryptocurrency companies in the area would allow “for Korea to become a leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry.” Won likewise suggested for the national and provincial governments, along with resource persons in the private sector, to form a task force to determine how the island could be made into an industry hub.

Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver was recently reported to have sent Jeju Island’s governor $100 in Bitcoin Cash at a cryptocurrency conference on Jeju Island.

Early this year, the country’s minister of justice announced plans to ban cryptocurrency exchanges altogether in the country, which was met with much backlash. The government afterwards clarified that the statement by Justice Minister Park Sang-ki was made independent of other agencies, and later stated its plans to fashion a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency trading, likely treating entities in the sector like banks, and subject to similar anti-money laundering restrictions.

Currently, cryptocurrency exchanges, classified as small and medium enterprises (SMEs), enjoy 50%-100% in tax cuts for their first five years in operation, after which they receive 5%-30% in tax cuts. However, the government is looking to remove such exchanges from the SME classification, in a draft revised bill to be presented to the National Assembly on August 31.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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