• Two South Korean presidential candidates said they would review the ICO ban in the country following their election wins
  • ICOs are currently banned in South Korea where stiff penalties apply to those seeking to pursue the funding method domestically

Front runners for the upcoming presidential elections in South Korea are reportedly looking at unbanning initial coin offerings (ICOs) within the country in a bid to curry favor among younger voters.

According to a report by Forkast News on Wednesday, conservative candidate of the People Power Party, Yoon Suk-yeol, and Lee Jae-myung of the Democratic Party of Korea said they were considering reversing a ban on the crypto funding method.

Yoon, who is falling short in the polls behind rival Lee, said Wednesday he will approve ICOs if supervised by bank-certified and licensed crypto exchanges, per the report.

Lee who currently leads (40.9%) against Yoon (39.2%), according to recent Realmeter polling, also said he will review the status of ICOs during a meeting with local exchanges. Lee also announced on Jan. 6 that he would be raising funds for his campaign by issuing receipts to donors in the form of non-fungible tokens.

In November, the country’s financial regulator, the FSC, declined to regulate NFTs as they do not fall under the definition of “virtual asset” provided by Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Crypto is proving to be a hot-button issue amongst general voters in a country that banned ICO’s more than four years ago.

In 2017, the FSC prohibited the use of raising funds through ICOs and issued a warning that “stern penalties” would apply to any party involved.

Just last month, lawmakers in South Korea voted to postpone a new crypto tax on digital assets now set to take effect in 2023.

The 2022 South Korean presidential election is expected to be held on March 9 and will be the eighth presidential election since the country pivoted to a direct election democracy in 1987.


Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your inbox every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.


  • Blockworks
    Senior Reporter, Asia News Desk
    Sebastian Sinclair is a senior news reporter for Blockworks operating in South East Asia. He has experience covering the crypto market as well as certain developments affecting the industry including regulation, business and M&As. He currently holds no cryptocurrencies. Contact Sebastian via email at [email protected]