The South Korean National Assembly unanimously voted in favor of a bill on Thursday that provides the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, exchanges and crypto-related platforms. The approval of the amended Special Financial Transactions Information Act signifies the legalization of cryptocurrency trading and holding in the country. It marks one of the world’s most comprehensive legal frameworks for the emerging industry.
The legislation gives Korea’s financial regulators the authority to govern innovative cryptocurrency platforms while developing controls to prevent money laundering.
News Asia reports that “cryptocurrency is now fully legal in South Korea” and that there will be a six-month grace period, granting startups, exchanges and other entities affected by the law until September of 2021 to become fully compliant.
The law also requires crypto exchanges, wallet companies, trusts and initial coin offerings to comply with the real-name verification system. The measure curbs money laundering by linking crypto-related businesses to accounts at approved Korean banks. Large Korean exchanges such as Bithumb, Korbit, Upbit and Coinone are already using the system to withdraw and deposit fiat currency.
Exchanges will also need to obtain an information security management system (ISMS) certification from the Korea Internet Security Agency (KISA) within the six-month grace period or risk being shuttered, as well as comply with reporting requirements established by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
The bill is expected to come into effect by September of 2021.