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Report: Korean Political Parties to Propose New Crypto Laws

South Korea’s National Assembly is reportedly set to witness a whirlwind of legislative efforts around cryptocurrencies in the coming days.

Between July 13 and 26, members of a number of Korean political parties are expected to submit bills focused on regulating cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and blockchain, according to a report from The Korea Times.

Among the members who are expected to submit bills are Representative Park Yong-jin of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, Representative Chung Tae-ok of the main opposition Liberty Party Korea (LPK) and Representative Choung Byoung-gug of the minor opposition Bareun Mirae Party.

While a flurry of activity is anticipated, it’s not entirely clear how the process will play out. According to the Times, members of the Assembly “remain widely divided” on the issue. That said, the moves will nonetheless spark a fresh debate over the status of cryptocurrencies in the country, which is home to a vibrant community as well as a number of exchanges.

The focus on ICOs is especially notable, given that Korea was one of a number of countries to ban the blockchain funding model back in 2017.

One member of the Assembly is also holding an event later this month that could have implications for the country’s domestic exchange ecosystem.

Rep. Song Hee-kyung, another assembly member from the LPK, will co-host a debate on security for domestic crypto exchanges with the Korea Internet and Security Agency (KISA), a government organization that supervises internet and cybersecurity issues, on July 19.

The event comes in the wake of twin exchange hacks – targeting Coinrail and Bithumb – both of which took place in June. The hacks have caused a loss of at least $70 million in total and triggered a wide discussion and critique among the country’s crypto community.

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US Congressman: 'Race to Regulate' Won't Solve Crypto Fraud

Though fraud is undoubtedly an issue in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry believes lawmakers shouldn’t rush to impose new regulations.

“It’s my fear that Congress and other policymakers get wrapped up in the hype of bitcoin and feel like doing something – anything – is better than nothing,” he told CoinDesk in an interview on Tuesday, adding:

“And I get it, there’s fraud, there are bad actors, there’s irrational hysteria in the space, but a race to regulate is not the answer.”

The North Carolinian Congressman’s comments echo those made by fellow Republican Rep. Tom Emmer last month at an event in Washington, D.C., but diverge from those offered by his colleagues on the House Capital Markets, Securities and Investment Subcommittee.

During a March hearing on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrencies, California Rep. Brad Sherman memorably dubbed cryptocurrencies a “crock,” while Michigan Rep. Bill Huizenga declared: “This panel, this Congress is not going to sit by idly with a lack of protection for investors.”

McHenry said in the interview that such hastiness could stifle the innovative potential of the blockchain industry.

“I think there’s such a great opportunity around this technology that I think we have to be open to it and we have to have federal regulation and law that respects it,” he explained.

Hold off on new laws

Likewise, McHenry said he thinks the existing regulatory approach is working, and that it is unlikely that Congress will need to develop entirely new laws for the industry in the future.

Instead, he suggested, existing rules should be aligned with new technology.

“I think we need to take a comprehensive look at the ways this emerging technology already fits within our regulatory structure that exists today before we look at new regulations or new laws that might be needed,” McHenry explained.

Regulators like the SEC have already exemplified this with their enforcement actions, he said, noting: “There’s a structure there already and an existing law that enables them to do that.”

For now, McHenry suggests that Congress should focus on learning about blockchain, cryptocurrencies and their use cases.

As for the latter, he is particularly excited about blockchain applications to the areas of crowd-funding and payments, for which the technology “solves an enormous issue.”

“Those two things are just fantastic opportunities,” he told CoinDesk. “But there’s so many new use cases that it’s hard to keep tabs on.”

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.