Presidential candidates from South Korea’s democratic and conservative parties have said on Wednesday that initial coin offerings (ICO) should make a comeback in the nation, as crypto continues to be a key theme in the March elections.

Fast facts

  • ICOs have been banned by financial regulator in South Korea since 2017 in a booming cryptocurrency scene that spurred speculative frenzy, crime, and arbitrage in the peninsula. 
  • Yoon Suk-yeol, the conservative candidate from the People Power Party said he will approve ICOs if supervised by bank-certified and licensed crypto exchanges.
  • Lee Jae-myung, Democratic Party of Korea candidate also said on Wednesday during a meeting with local exchanges, that he too will review allowing ICOs.
  • While crypto has been a priority for Lee’s campaign, Wednesday was Yoon’s first public press conference dedicated to addressing cryptocurrencies. 
  • Yoon pledged investor protection-focused Basic Digital Asset Law, to recover illicit profits from mis-selling, market price manipulation, and pump and dumps. 
  • Yoon is leading the race in a majority of public polls, while Lee is a close runner-up.