South Korea Introduces Mandatory Crypto Disclosure for High-Ranking Officials

South Korea has taken a significant step towards increasing transparency and integrity within its public sector.

Starting next year, high-ranking public officials will be required to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings under a new legislation announced by the country’s Ministry of Personnel Management.

New Bill to Advance Transparency in the Public Sector

Under the new legislation, approximately 5,800 public officials must make their crypto and other asset holdings public starting next year.

The Ethics Policy Division of South Korea revealed that this information, traditionally reported in official gazettes, will now be accessible through the Public Official Ethics System (PETI).

This integrated asset disclosure service will offer a more streamlined and transparent approach for public officials to report their holdings, including cryptocurrencies and other assets.

Kim Seung-ho, the director of personnel management, expressed optimism about the new system.

In a recent post, he stated, “We expect that the transparency of the public service community will be further increased through the implementation of an integrated service for public official property disclosure and property registration of virtual assets.”

South Korea Tightens Laws in Wake of $4.5M Wemix Token Scandal

This development was a response to a scandal in May 2023 involving Kim Nam-kuk, a Democratic Party member. He was under scrutiny for allegedly possessing over $4.5 million in Wemix tokens, created by the South Korean blockchain firm Wemade.

This situation heightened concerns about potential conflicts of interest, misuse of insider information, and possible money laundering, leading to reevaluating the rules regarding asset disclosure.

The situation led lawmakers to approve two new bills. These laws mandate that elected officials and high-ranking government personnel report their cryptocurrency holdings as part of their yearly asset declarations.

This legislative move aims to strengthen public confidence by making the financial interests of government officials more visible, particularly their involvement in the cryptocurrency sector.

In a related development, South Korea’s major domestic crypto exchanges – Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit, and Gopax – have announced plans to develop a separate information system starting next year in June.

This system could play a pivotal role in the property registration process, offering a dedicated platform for the accurate and efficient disclosure of crypto holdings.


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