Despite Korea’s Inhibitions, Jeju Island Pushes for ICO Regulations
Spearheading development to establish Jeju Island as a blockchain and cryptocurrency hub, Governor Won Hee-ryong issued a formal request to the Korean government, Aug. 14, to designate the island as a special economic zone for the burgeoning digital asset sector.
ICO Regulations Pitched to Government
According to Korea Joongang Daily, Hee-ryong held a meeting with high-ranking government officials and policymakers from South Korea–including Kim Dong-yeon, the country’s finance minister and deputy prime minister to discuss blockchain and cryptocurrency regulations. Despite being a legal part of the country, Jeju Island has a separate economic and administrative framework that operates independently, paving a pathway for the jurisdiction to propose ICO regulations irrespective of Korea’s stance.
During the meeting, the governor emphasized that blockchain technology represents an opportunity for Korea to supersede other economies by adopting a “global development platform.”
He also noted that the Korean government, provincial authorities from Jeju and blockchain consultants should form a cryptocurrency task force to explore ideas for the island as well as ways to propel the blockchain industry globally.
Additionally, Hee-ryong reportedly referred to his jurisdiction as the “Jeju Free International City” in the meeting and called for “drastic deregulation” to augment developments in the sunrise technology.
Speaking about the technology, Hee-ryong stated:
“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.”
He added that Korea must aim to become a “leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry,” and needs to “quickly” introduce relevant laws for the operation of cryptocurrency and blockchain businesses.
A cryptocurrency evangelist, Hee-ryong said that he believes entrepreneurs and token projects should be free to raise investments from institutions and retail investors by offering tokens to users. He added that innovation in this regard must also be regulated.
With such rules in place, the Jeju governor also noted that Korean crypto startups can return to the country instead of moving to other crypto-friendly locations like Singapore or Switzerland, which currently results in both brain-drain and a loss of tax income for the government.
Proposals Find Relevance
Additional reports have stated that several Korean projects are supportive of Hee-ryong’s ambitious plans and are engaged in discussions pertaining to legalities and operations.
Take ICON (ICX), a Korea-based blockchain platform ranked 31st in the world based on market cap, for example; the firm shifted its operations to Switzerland following Korea’s crackdown on crypto projects, raising concerns of a talent-drain in the local economy.
An unnamed industry insider told Korea Joongang Daily:
“If ICOs were allowed in the country, it would prevent the outflow of capital from Korea. [The country] has so many good projects which, unfortunately, all decide to do their coin offering elsewhere due to the government’s stance.”
Hee-ryong has a lot to conquer before changing Korea’s stance toward cryptocurrencies and attempting to make Jeju Island a blockchain hub. However, members of the provincial government revealed a reshuffle of the Jeju cabinet is underway–one that will see the creation of a dedicated department to “materialize” the district’s enterprising plans.
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