Cryptocurrency laws and regulations in South Korea

By Michael Kim, Daniel Lee and Nathan Park, Kobre & Kim


China | Philippines | South Korea | Taiwan | U.A.E

South Korea is one of the world’s most significant markets for blockchain technology companies. As of earlier this year, the Korean won (KRW) was the most frequently used currency for digital currency trading except for the US dollar. In the second half of 2017, more than 10% of Bitcoin trades around the globe were done in KRW.

Michael Kim
Lawyer at Kobre & Kim in Seoul
Tel: +82 2 369 1212; +1 212 448 1201

Despite the nation’s leading role in the digital currency markets, South Korea has struggled to implement meaningful regulatory and taxation measures for trading these currencies. In less than a year, South Korean authorities have changed their regulatory postures on numerous occasions, and the Korean judiciary and financial regulatory agencies remain misaligned in terms of establishing a cohesive regulatory stance.

Despite the lack of clarity, an overarching regulatory trend is becoming apparent: hostility toward initial coin offerings (ICOs) and exchanges, followed by increased co-operation between the government and digital currency organizations. The evolution of South Korean digital currency regulation will be one to watch, and promises to have a significant impact on the global digital currency markets.

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