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Bitcoin ETFs under review by South Korean regulators, FSS governor shares insights

bitcoin-etfs-under-review-by-south-korean-regulators-fss-governor-shares-insights
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Bitcoin ETFs under review by South Korean regulators, FSS governor shares insights

South Korean financial regulators are currently in discussions about potentially allowing spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) within the country. 

Lee Bok-hyun, serving as the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), revealed ongoing discussions within South Korea’s regulatory bodies.

In a recent radio interview, he highlighted that authorities are contemplating the approval of Bitcoin Spot ETFs, with Lee pointing out the mixed opinions within the regulatory bodies.

He emphasized ann optimistic stance towards virtual assets against a backdrop of more cautious perspectives from other officials.

The discussion around the approval of Bitcoin Spot ETFs in South Korea takes place amid the country’s border efforts toward technological innovation.

However, the decision-making process is complicated by differing views within the regulatory community and concerns about Bitcoin’s classification under current financial laws.

Previously, in January, financial authorities indicated a lack of intention to regulate Bitcoin ETFs, but the issue of brokerage sales of these ETFs under the Capital Markets Act has prompted further scrutiny.

As of now, Lee anticipates engaging the public on this matter, especially in light of expected regulatory developments concerning virtual assets later in the year. 

The Financial Supervisory Service’s engagements extend beyond domestic dialogues; a formal consultation is scheduled with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May. This upcoming discussion will deliberate on advanced financial instruments, specifically non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and the classification of Bitcoin Spot Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) as virtual assets within regulatory frameworks.

The discussion also follows the People Power Party in South Korea’s decision to indefinitely postpone its plans to relax cryptocurrency regulations. This pause has affected the proposal to lift the ban on domestic spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). According to reports from local media, this decision is rooted in the challenges of achieving consensus among government and financial institutions regarding the cryptocurrency policy framework.

Globally, the interest in Bitcoin ETFs has seen a significant uptick, notably after the U.S. SEC approved the first spot Bitcoin ETFs on Jan. 10. This decision sparked a substantial increase in investments, with recent data showing a surge in U.S. Spot Bitcoin ETF inflows. On March 4, these inflows reached $588 million, marking a significant rise from previous figures. Major financial institutions such as Fidelity and BlackRock reported inflows exceeding $400 million each, with only the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust experiencing notable outflows.

Meanwhile, South Korean regulators are also intensifying their scrutiny of digital platforms due to privacy concerns. On March 4, South Korea’s Personal Information Protection Commission announced its decision to investigate Worldcoin (WLD) after reports surfaced of potentially illicit processing of personal information, such as iris data, without individuals’ consent.