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S Korean Crypto, Blockchain Leaders Join Forces for Assault on ICO Ban

Tim Alper
Last updated: | 1 min read

South Korea’s leading blockchain and cryptocurrency experts, business leaders and academics are urging the government to change its fintech policy – by creating a super-association of blockchain-related organizations.

Source: iStock/sharrocks

The new association claims that Seoul’s much-maligned initial coin offering (ICO) ban is out of line with the policy of the international community and “unfairly discriminates” against domestic companies.

The ICO ban was upheld earlier this year following a lengthy consultation period.

Per media outlets IT Chosun and Tech M, the new body is calling itself the Korean Association of Blockchain Associations, and comprises members including the Korea Blockchain Industry Promotion Association (KBIPA), the Korea Blockchain Startup Association and the influential blockchain research centers of Dongguk and Korea universities.

Source: The Korean Association of Blockchain Associations

The new body says it has appointed outspoken crypto-advocate Kim Hyung-joo of the KBIPA as its chairman, with influential professors Kim Hyung-joong (Korea University) and Park Sung-joon (Dongguk University) also taking up senior roles.

At a press conference held yesterday, the body demanded that the government do the following:

-Lift the ICO ban (and create a regulated system for ICO issuance)
-Establish a system of laws and protocols for both the cryptocurrency and the blockchain sectors
-Involve South Korean industry experts in the creation of cryptocurrency policy
-Create a policy-making cryptocurency taskforce
-Issue legislation that promotes the short-, medium- and long-term growth of the domestic cryptocurrency industry

Members spoke out in protest against what they called a “one-sided, hardline” ICO ban, which is “out of synch with the ICO policies of major overseas countries.”

Elsewhere in South Korea, the city of Siheung claims it has sold USD 1.8 million worth of its new stablecoin in the month following its launch. The stablecoin, say Siheung authorities, is accepted at 3,200 stores and outlets in the city.

Per Aju News, the city allowed buyers to purchase the stablecoin at discounts of up to 10%. Several South Korean cities and Seoul districts have already issued stablecoins in the first few months of the year, with others set to follow suit in the coming months.