South Korea, renowned for its rich history and remarkable economic achievements, continues to be a major player in the global economy. As one of the G-20 major economies and part of the esteemed “Asian Tigers,” South Korea has made significant strides in the manufacturing of electronics and vehicles, boasting industry leaders like Samsung, LG Electronics, Kia, and Hyundai. With high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital, South Korea stands at the forefront of technological advancement.
Considering the country’s advanced infrastructure and financial sophistication, it comes as no surprise that cryptocurrency has gained significant traction in South Korea. Although South Koreans joined the Bitcoin movement relatively later than the US, Europe, and China, the country’s internet penetration and financial acumen have played crucial roles in driving crypto adoption. Between 2019 and 2020, South Korea ranked 17th in the world for crypto adoption out of 154 countries.
In 2018, South Korea emerged as one of the largest cryptocurrency markets globally, trailing only behind the United States and Japan, countries with significantly larger populations. The substantial per capita adoption of cryptocurrencies in South Korea is attributed to the participation of one-third of all salaried workers in crypto trading and investment, with Bitcoin being the preferred choice for most market participants.
During the 2018 bear market, the South Korean Bitcoin community faced challenges due to stringent government regulations. The government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading, particularly initial coin offerings (ICOs), disrupted the market significantly, and ICOs have remained banned since 2021. However, as we enter 2023, there are indications that the government is starting to relax its restrictions. The Korean blockchain revolution seems set to continue, albeit at a more measured pace.
This article aims to provide South Koreans with up-to-date information on the regulatory environment surrounding cryptocurrency and guide them on purchasing Bitcoin using credit or debit cards within the country.
Tax Regulations and Blockchain Adoption
In January 2021, South Korea announced its intention to impose a 20% tax rate on profits derived from crypto trading. After years of deliberation, this new tax regime is expected to be implemented in 2023, and traders are advised to prepare accordingly.
In terms of blockchain adoption, South Korea has witnessed notable developments. The KT Corporation, the country’s largest telephone company, is preparing to launch its own blockchain-powered network. This blockchain layer will enhance the existing network’s security and transparency. In October 2020, SK Telecom introduced a blockchain-based system for storing government certificates, further solidifying the country’s commitment to leveraging blockchain technology.
Additionally, the Korea Housing Finance Corporation and the Korea Internet & Security Agency have joined forces to establish a blockchain document storage system. This system will manage mortgage and loan documents while safeguarding customer data and improving operational efficiency.
Moreover, the administrative district of Yeongdeungpo-gu has implemented a Proposal Evaluation System based on blockchain technology. This system enhances the security and integrity of administrative work, streamlining proposal reviews and accelerating results.
These developments signal the South Korean government’s inclination to embrace blockchain technology rather than suppress it.
Purchasing Bitcoin in South Korea
For South Koreans interested in venturing into the cryptocurrency space, platforms like Coinmama facilitate the purchase of Bitcoin using VISA or MasterCard debit or credit cards. Simply follow the straightforward steps provided by the platform to acquire Bitcoin with ease.
As we look to the future, it remains to be seen what regulations the South Korean government will implement for cryptocurrencies. However, given the country’s technological sophistication, it serves as an ideal incubator for this transformative technology. South Korea’s commitment to nurturing blockchain and embracing cryptocurrencies positions it as a promising player in the global crypto landscape.