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Main Opposition Candidate for President of South Korea Pledges Support for Crypto Tax Exemptions

Main Opposition Candidate for President of South Korea Pledges Support for Crypto Tax ExemptionsThe leading presidential candidate of the opposition in South Korea has promised voters to ease the tax burden on crypto-related profits through exemptions. In a recent statement, Yoon Suk-yeol indicated that crypto investors will be treated like those who put money into stocks. Presidential Candidate Looks to Attract Young Voters With Crypto Tax Cuts Yoon […]

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

ICON commits $200M to interoperability incentive fund

The South Korean blockchain hopes to fund its interoperability technology to create new cross-chain applications.

The ICON Foundation announced plans to launch an interoperability incentive program for 200 million ICX, or approximately $200 million at the time of publication. The foundation supports the development of the ICON network, South Korea’s largest public aggregator chain. The foundation said that it hopes this program will incentivize the ICON community and its partner networks to adopt ICON’s blockchain transfer protocol, or BTP.

The incentive program aims to distribute up to 200 million ICX tokens over a period of five years, primarily funded by the ICX reserve allocation raised during the 2017 token sale. ICON intends to attract development teams in other ecosystems to explore BTP’s cross-chain communication opportunities.

The majority of the proceeds are planned to go towards developing new high-quality use cases for the BTP technology, while a share of it will go towards incentivizing the long-term adoption of BTP within existing protocols and communities, according to the company.

BTP integration is currently underway with many blockchains including Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot, Kusama, Moonriver, Astar Network, Edgeware, Acala, NEAR and Harmony. 

Related: $300M incentive program backs 100% rally in Harmony (ONE) price

ICON claimed that their incentive program is the first fund dedicated entirely to interoperability. Min Kim, founder of the ICON Project, said in a statement that the goal is "not to fragment existing development communities," but rather to create collaboration opportunities between them within the layer 2 ecosystem.

Scott Smiley, Head of Strategy at ICON Foundation, told Cointelegraph that security and decentralization are not alone in leading adoption, statin:

“We’re confident that once users and developers interact with BTP, they’ll recognize the value of a chain-agnostic, scalable, and uniquely secure protocol. This incentive fund will give the market the ‘nudge’ it needs in order to start the snowball of adoption.”

Related: Austrian gin makers to use blockchain to guarantee bottles' rarity

ICON recently launched ICON 2.0, introducing an upgraded core blockchain engine, support for Java smart contracts, the interoperability technology BTP and updated tokenomics.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Presidential Candidate in South Korea to Raise Funds in Cryptocurrency, Issue NFTs  

Presidential Candidate in South Korea to Raise Funds in Cryptocurrency, Issue NFTs  Lee Jae-myung, nominated by the ruling party in South Korea for the upcoming presidential elections this spring, is preparing to raise funds in cryptocurrencies and issue non-fungible tokens for supporters. His campaign hopes that the initiative will woo young and tech-savvy Korean voters whose interest in digital assets is growing. Ruling Party of South Korea […]

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Coinone will stop withdrawals to unverified external wallets

The exchange plans to verify users’ names and resident registration details to ensure crypto transactions were “not used for illegal activities such as money laundering.”

South Korean crypto exchange Coinone has announced it plans to no longer allow withdrawals of tokens to unverified external wallets starting in January.

In a Wednesday announcement, Coinone said users would have from Dec. 30 to Jan. 23 to register their external wallets at the exchange, after which time it would restrict withdrawals. The exchange specified that crypto users could only register their own wallets, and the verification process “may take some time” and could change in the future.

According to Coinone, it planned to verify users’ names and resident registration numbers — issued to all residents of South Korea — to ensure crypto transactions were “not used for illegal activities such as money laundering.” Customers at the exchange likely won’t be able to withdraw funds to wallets without Know Your Customer, or KYC, safeguards. This restriction also applies to the popular hardware wallet Ledger.

In March, the South Korean government implemented a previously passed bill that requires local crypto exchanges to meet requirements for a real-name account and ISMS authentication, as well as report on their operations within six months. Crypto users in the country will also see the implementation of a tax rule scheduled to go into effect in January — the rule would impose capital gains taxes on all crypto trading profits of more than roughly $2,300.

Related: 30-somethings led crypto purchases at South Korean exchanges in 2021

Many exchanges, including Bithumb, have since announced restrictions and stronger KYC and Anti-Money Laundering, or AML, checks in response to Korean lawmakers’ push to regulate crypto. However, Coinone will likely still accept wallets offered by exchanges already in compliance with KYC checks, which would include those from FTX and Binance.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Finance Committee Approves Legislation Delaying Crypto Tax in South Korea

Finance Committee Approves Legislation Delaying Crypto Tax in South KoreaChanges meant to postpone the introduction of a tax on virtual assets such as cryptocurrencies in South Korea have been approved by an important parliamentary committee. The draft legislation seeks to delay Seoul’s plan to impose a 20-percent levy on gains from crypto transactions. Ahead of Election, Major Parties Support Tax Break for Crypto Investors […]

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Law Decoded: India ponders going full China on crypto, Nov. 22–29

The world's sixth-largest economy could adopt a hardline stance against decentralized cryptocurrencies as soon as this winter.

Are big emerging economies more likely to gravitate toward blanket crypto bans? China has set a precedent, and now it appears as if India could be weighing a similar policy direction: A bill containing a proposed ban on all “private cryptocurrencies” will go in front of the nation’s parliament sometime this winter. The measure is designed to clear the way for India’s central bank to advance its digital currency agenda. Whether a sovereign central bank digital currency can coexist with a thriving market of “private” cryptos will be one of the central questions of the looming CBDC age, and it is clear that governments will be tempted to use their coercive authority to tilt the playing field in favor of the centralized money that they control.

Below is the concise version of the latest “Law Decoded” newsletter. For the full breakdown of policy developments over the last week, register for the full newsletter below.

Lok Sabha to consider policy options

One of the 26 new bills that the Lok Sabha, the lower chamber of the Indian parliament, will take on during the winter session that kicks off this week is The Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill. The document outlines a set of measures meant to facilitate the creation of a CBDC, including a proposed ban on all “private” digital assets, with a few exceptions. The exact implications of the legislation remain a subject of much speculation, with analysts offering diverging interpretations of the scope of the potential ban. The market, however, responded in a more consolidated way, as crypto prices on the major Indian exchange WazirX tanked on the news

Powell to remain, Omarova up in the air

United States President Joe Biden nominated Jerome Powell, the current chair of the Federal Reserve System’s Board of Governors, for another four-year term at the helm of the Fed. During one of his recent appearances in front of Congress, Powell stated that a China-style blanket ban on crypto was not in the cards but said that stablecoins needed greater regulatory oversight. During Powell’s current tenure, which is set to expire in February 2022, the Federal Reserve has been actively exploring the possibility of issuing a CBDC, as well as teaming up with federal regulatory agencies for crypto-focused “policy sprints” aimed at identifying and remedying gaps in digital asset regulation. 

South Korean NFT politics

Crypto taxation remains a hot-button political issue in South Korea, as the government is sending mixed signals on whether new rules, including a 20% tax on crypto income, will go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2022. Which types of digital assets fall under the updated tax code remains murky as well. While the nation’s Financial Services Commission had previously stated that nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, are exempt from taxation, the agency’s chairman stated the exact opposite last week. Furthermore, the regulator has come forward with a set of strict reporting requirements for digital token issuers, with jail time prescribed for those who fail to comply.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

South Korea embraces the proto-Metaverse

South Koreas will be immersed in the Metaverse sooner than later, as industries and public services begin rolling out virtual avatars and applications across the country.

The South Korean people and an increasing number of major companies in the country have begun to embrace and integrate the Metaverse into their everyday lives in new and unexpected ways.

Two major retailers in the country have recently introduced Metaverse and AI elements to shoppers to enhance their shopping experience.

GS Shop introduced home shopping via the Metaverse on Nov. 16 by showing the inner workings of a food production facility. It aimed to reassure customers of the quality of the facility and the food that was for sale.

GS Shop turned scans of the physical facility into 3D representations. This way, customers who had augmented reality (AR) devices, similar to the haptic gloves Meta previewed this week, could tour the facility in the virtual world to see the conditions under which their food was being produced.

Jason Ye, the co-founder of multi-chain ecosystem accelerator DeSpread, has noticed the explosion of companies joining the Metaverse in Korea. “It seems like every company is diving into the Metaverse and Play to Earn these days,” he told Cointelegraph.

“Korea has lots of huge IPs. If you can combine those IPs with great content around them, you can build a great business model. Attractive contents are the basis for entering the Metaverse.”

Metaverse and AI (artificial intelligence) avatars are popping up in several industries including retail shopping, finance, and even public services. 

Lotte Home Shopping, which topped $14 billion in sales in 2020, introduced Lucy, a virtual model to help promote the brand’s products. Lotte will use Lucy in future video content and on social media since the avatar has its own Instagram account. It is also highly likely that Lotte will integrate Lucy into its Metaverse-based virtual store.

The deployment of virtual reality has also extended to the public sector. The Seoul City government announced on Nov. 6 that it planned on building its Metaverse platform by 2023, where residents can file civil petitions.

Related: ‘We are building for the metaverse,’ says Meta VP Nick Clegg

The tentatively named ‘Metaverse 120 Center’ will handle virtual visits that do not require the visitor’s physical presence.

On Nov. 10, the Korean military announced that it would phase in Metaverse applications to soldier training programs by the 2030s.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

South Korean lawmakers push back against controversial “know-the-sender” rule

If passed, more stringent reporting requirements would apply to domestic and international transactions, which some say would damage the growth of the industry.

South Korea’s crypto community coul soon face stringent reporting requirements on all cryptocurrency transactions, with the country’s National Assembly currently debating whether “know-the sender” (KTS) rules should be imposed.

Arguments against the proposed KTS rule were heard before the Political Affairs Committee of South Korea’s legislature on Nov. 16, with lawmakers and industry experts pushing back against the proposed legislation.

If written into law, the KTS rule would stipulate that businesses which receive any crypto assets must verify and report the name of the issuer and their location. In the case of business-to-business transactions, the issuer’s legal status and number of employees must be reported also.

Choi Hwa-In of the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) warned that the local blockchain industry could become “severely limited” should the proposal pass. Attorney Yoon Jong-soo later pointed out that as cryptocurrency becomes more popular and widely adopted, it will become harder to assume that the sender will provide the necessary information to identify themselves.

The KTS rule would also mandate crypto senders from outside of Korea to register with the Financial Services Commission (FSC), the country’s financial regulator. These rules could spark an initial shutdown of all crypto transactions in the country until relevant parties could come into compliance, although a grace period would likely be introduced alongside the legislation.

The rule was proposed via a series of bills by Kim Byung-wook of the majority Democratic Party and Yoon Chang-hyeon of the People’s Power Party on Oct. 28.

The hearing in the National Assembly today follows a long stretch of regulatory discussions concerning cryptocurrency for Korea's lawmakers this year.

Related: South Korean pension fund to invest in Bitcoin ETF: Report

Debate regarding whether a tax on cryptocurrency earnings will be enacted as planned from January 2022 for South Korean residents. Several lawmakers have proposed delays to the tax while facing staunch opposition from Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Animoca Brands unveils plans for K-pop NFT metaverse

Animoca Brands has announced it will partner with Korean record label Cube Entertainment to build a “K-pop metaverse.”

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) continue to disrupt the mainstream entertainment industries, with NFT gaming firm Animoca Brands partnering with Korean record label, talent agency and music production company, Cube Entertainment, to build a “K-pop music metaverse.”

Announced on Nov. 15, the partnership will see Animoca and Cube work together to create multimedia NFTs celebrating popular actors and K-pop musicians on Cube’s roster. The NFTs will feature images such as artist portraits and album art, and also include digital sound sources such as full-length albums.

Yat Siu, the chief executive of Animoca Brands, stated that he cannot wait to begin working with Cube to “make the open metaverse a reality.” Animoca described the partnership as enabling “true digital property rights and other blockchain benefits” for both the artists on Cube’s roster and their fans.

Ahn Woo Hyung, CEO of Cube, said that the collaboration will be “an important beginning for leading the global digital culture market and advancing the digital content industry."

Cube manages roughly 50 K-pop artists, including BtoB, Pentagon, (G)I-DLE and Lightsum.

Related: NFTs offer a new way for society to ‘store culture’ says Animoca Brands CEO

Siu has long emphasized the disruptive form of ownership enabled by NFTs, previously likening the impact of nonfungible tokens on the advancement of property rights to the Renaissance in early-modern Europe in July 2020.

Animoca has been closely linked to many key milestones in the growth of NFTs, having invested in Dapper Labs after witnessing the firm bring the Ethereum network to its knees as a result of the rampant success of CryptoKitties in 2017 from a neighboring office.

In 2020, Animoca secured a global licensing agreement with Formula 1 for the launch of its F1 Delta Time game, before selling $3 million worth of virtual land NFTs for its metaverse subsidiary The Sandbox in an initial exchange offering hosted by Binance at the end of the year.

At the start of November 2021, The Sandbox raised a further $93 million to expand its NFT metaverse.

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20

Ukraine Security Service Busts Criminal Group Selling Bitcoin-Stealing Malware 

Ukraine Security Service Busts Criminal Group Selling Bitcoin-Stealing Malware Law enforcement authorities in Ukraine have exposed a crime ring specializing in cryptocurrency theft and laundering of illicit funds for hackers. The gang, which provided services to clients on the darknet, has been dismantled as a result of a joint operation carried out with the United States. Cybercriminals From Ukraine Launder Millions, Offer Flash Drives […]

Crypto Biz: Microsoft enters the metaverse, Jan. 14-20