South Koreas Crypto Disclosure Mandate for Officials Goes Live in 2024

South Koreas Crypto Disclosure Mandate for Officials Goes Live in 2024


South Korea passes a new bill mandating public officials and candidates to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings starting in 2024, while also imposing limits on investment amounts as part of an effort to enhance transparency and accountability within the public sector.

In a unanimous decision, South Korean lawmakers have passed a new bill mandating public officials and candidates to disclose their digital currency holdings starting in 2024.

The legislation, informed by local news outlet Chosun-Ilbo, not only demands transparency but likewise imposes restrictions on the financing amounts allowed for officials engaged in the digital currency sector.

An amendment to the Public Service Ethics Act

Starting from Jan. 1, 2024, high-ranking public officials in South Korea, including National Assembly members, will be obligated to disclose their digital currency holdings, irrespective of the quantity owned. 

The new requirement comes as an amendment to the country’s Public Service Ethics Act, which previously mandated officials to report assets such as cash, stocks, and bonds exceeding 10 Million Korean won ( approximately US$7,572).

It’s worth noting that, digital currencies and other virtual assets were previously not included in the disclosure requirements.

The bill, spearheaded by conservative lawmaker Lee Man-hee, intends to strengthen transparency and accountability within the public sector.

Alongside the disclosure provision, the legislation likewise sets limitations on the financing amount allowed for officials engaged in the digital currency sector. This measure is designed to regulate the involvement of public servants in the rapidly expanding cryptocurrency industry and mitigate potential conflicts of interest.

All 269 lawmakers present at the National Assembly demonstrated unanimous support for the amendment to the National Assembly Act. With a resounding 269 votes in favor, the proposed amendment secured overwhelming backing from the assembly members.

Similarly, the amendment to the Public Service Ethics Act, which expands the reporting obligation to encompass high-ranking public officials, garnered a whole lot of bulk of 268 votes out of the total 268 lawmakers present during the voting process.

The foundation for new mandates 

The foundation for the new mandate came shortly after Kim Nam-kuk, a previous member of South Korea’s main opposition Democratic Party, was found in possession of cryptocurrency assets valued at a minimum of $4.5 Million, which were held on the Wemix exchange.

The finding instantly raised concerns regarding possible instances of money laundering, conflicts of interest, and the  capacity exploitation of insider information.

In contrast to  countries that have opted for outright bans on digital currencies following concerns, like China and Saudi Arabia, South Korea has chosen a regulatory approach regardless of the challenges associated with digital assets.

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