South Korean ruling party lawmakers proposed all public officials and candidates disclose their crypto holdings in a new bill unveiled last Friday.

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Fast facts

  • “It is necessary to expand the scope of assets that are subject to reporting to include virtual assets — this will help to ensure that public officials do not use their position to improperly accumulate wealth or conceal assets,” said Lee Man-hee, a right-wing lawmaker, in a proposed amendment to the Public Official Ethics Act. 
  • The public officials’ law currently requires officials to disclose owned assets such as cash, stocks and bonds worth over 10 million Korean won (US$7,572), but cryptocurrencies or other virtual assets are not subject to reporting.
  • Lawmakers proposed that cryptocurrency holdings must be reported regardless of their value, and they suggested imposing a limit on the amount an official involved in the crypto sector can invest.
  • The proposal addresses the ongoing scandal surrounding lawmaker Kim Nam-kuk, a former lawmaker at the opposing Democratic Party. He is currently being investigated by local prosecutors for campaign finance violations, tax portals and concealment of criminal proceeds surrounding his hidden crypto possessions and transactions, according to local media outlet Chosun Ilbo.
  • South Korean cryptocurrency investors take up a significant portion of the global market, according to crypto data platform Xangle. The Korean won was the third most-used currency in Bitcoin transactions after the U.S. dollar and the Japanese yen.
  • Since last year’s Terra-Luna collapse, South Korea has been developing a legal framework for cryptocurrencies to enhance transparency and fair trading practices in the local market.

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