Pro-Crypto Candidate Narrowly Wins South Korean Election

Crypto investors in South Korea are breathing a sigh of relief, as a pro-crypto candidate won the crucial Presidential election.

Election results show that the Conservative Party candidate Yoon Suk-yeol will become South Korea’s next President. In one of the closest elections in South Korean history, Yoon beat his opponent by less than one percentage point.

As a former top prosecutor, Yoon promised to deregulate the crypto industry. His pro-crypto stance might have helped him win the election.

Deregulating crypto was one of the hottest topics during the election. Even his opponent, the Liberal Party’s Lee Jae-myung had some positive things to say about crypto. This is because crypto regulation was one of the most important topics for young voters, a crucial demographic for the election.

South Korea and Crypto

South Korea is a significant country in the crypto space. In a population of around 50 million people, there are more than five million individual crypto accounts. That makes ten percent of the population crypto invested.

The prosperous Asian country is the tenth-largest economy by nominal GDP. However, it is the third-largest cryptocurrency market on the globe. Korean Won (KRW) is also the third most traded national currency against Bitcoin, behind USD and Euro.

Korean crypto-mania has its roots in the recently worsened economic situation. The increased cost of living, stagnating salaries, and high unemployment had a severe impact on the Korean youth. To supplement their income, many of them turned to crypto investing.

To prevent potential illicit activities and money laundering, the government imposed new regulations and taxes on crypto trading. New regulations resulted in the termination of more than 60 different crypto exchanges. Moreover, the government proposed a 20% crypto tax. However, due to dissatisfaction and pressure from young voters, they delayed its implementation.

Campaign Promises

During his campaign, Yoon promised to deregulate the crypto industry. He considered current regulations to be “far from reality and unreasonable”. For instance, he advocated that the proposed 20% crypto tax should only come into effect if profits exceed KRW 2.5 million ($2,024) a year. This would exclude many small traders from having to file tax returns on their small crypto earnings.

He also proposed that the government should support the so-called “crypto unicorns”. Unicorn is a term for startup businesses (including crypto startups) valued at $1 billion or more.

On the other hand, he promised to crack down on crypto scammers. He came out for confiscating all crypto that was gained through illegitimate means. The authorities would then return those profits to scam victims. 

ICX Token Surging

After the results came out, the price of the ICX token surged.

ICX is the native crypto token by the South Korean ICON project. ICON is a platform that aims to facilitate interactions of independent blockchains. As an aggregator chain, wants to achieve interoperability between a web of interconnected networks, taking all blockchain data into one layer.

ICX was up to as much as 70% in the past 24 hours after the election. It jumped from as low as $0.61 on Wednesday to over $1.04 on Thursday morning. Investors seem to belive that Yoon’s favorable stance on crypto startups may benefit the company.

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However, the token is still below its peak back in 2018, when it traded at $13.

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