Lawmakers are preparing a bill that requires government officials to report their possible ownership of cryptocurrencies.
Rep. Noh Woong-rae of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) said he is preparing a bill to include virtual coins worth 5 million won ($4,700) as an asset for public servants to report.
Under the bill, government officials, who are required to report their property, are also subject to reveal their cryptocurrency transaction history.
Rep. Ki Dong-min of the DPK is also preparing a similar bill that obliges government officials to reveal their ownership of virtual coins valued at more than 10 million won. Ki said he will propose the bill by the end of this week.
“Cryptocurrencies will soon become an investment asset or a means of payment,” Ki said.
“An increasing number of people have invested in cryptocurrencies. We need to consider them as a part of property like cash and stocks, and government officials are supposed to report their property in a proper way.”
The two lawmakers’ move is in line with the government’s measure of prohibiting public servants from trading digital tokens.
According to finance circles, the Korea Exchange (KRX) sent a text message to its employees telling them not to trade virtual coins.
“KRX workers are responsible for a stable and transparent capital market. It is inappropriate for us to trade cryptocurrencies, which are prone to be speculative,” it said.
Financial Services Commission Chairman Choi Jong-gu also stressed his concerns over government officials’ speculative investments on virtual money.
“Government officials should stay away from trading cryptocurrencies,” he said during an executive meeting last week. “If you are already doing it, it’s time to quit.”
Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) Governor Choe Heung-sik also joined the move.
“It is unacceptable for FSS workers to do such speculative trading,” Choe said.
The world’s largest cryptocurrency price index CoinMarketCap decided to remove a group of Korean cryptocurrency exchanges from its price calculations last week as virtual coins are being traded in Korean exchanges at prices up to 50 percent higher than those in the United States.
CoinMarketCap said it came up with the step because the Korean exchanges showed “extreme divergence in prices from the rest of the world.” It worries about arbitrage opportunities, which may disrupt the global market.
CoinMarketCap sums up real-time prices for more than 1,400 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, from about 7,600 exchanges around the world. It has excluded three Korean exchanges _ Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit _ from its average.