Sohn Byung-doo, chief executive officer for Korea Exchange (KRX), urged South Korea to prepare an institutional infrastructure as virtual assets have become a major investment asset in the country.

Fast facts

  • In his speech at the 2021 Global ETP Conference, Sohn insisted that the “virtual asset market is no different from the capital market in that it needs to be backed by investor protection and transaction stability.” The KRX chief called attention to the sheer number of crypto investors in the country — 5 million — and to how the daily trade volume in Korea’s crypto market is close behind that of the stock market.
  • Sohn revealed the daily trade volume in the Korean virtual asset market is around 14 trillion Korean won (about US$12 billion), while the KOSPI (Korea Composite Stock Price Index) reveals that the stock market dealt with over 19 trillion won (about US$16.1 billion) on Nov. 30. The virtual asset market’s daily trade volume surpassed KOSPI’s back in March, and again in September this year.
  • Currently, South Korea classifies cryptocurrencies as intangible assets, such as computer software or patents, and plans to tax crypto gains as other income, where profit occurs haphazardly such as in lottery winnings.