Will the Korea Finance Act pass the National Assembly anytime soon?
The act on Reporting and Use of certain financial transaction information(Korea Finance Act) pending at the National Assembly was supposed to establish the first set of regulations for the cryptocurrency industry. But it was excluded from the list of acts approved Wednesday by the Legislation & Judiciary Committee, which verifies an act’s legality before it is put to a lawmakers’ vote. The reason for its delay was the new coronavirus; a set of law reforms related to the epidemic took top priority at the committee meeting, pushing other pending acts down the list. It seems likely the Korea Finance Act will be discussed on March 5, when the committee holds another meeting a day ahead of the National Assembly’s main session. But with decision-making procedures being delayed, this timeline also remains a mere possibility. Some industry insiders are raising concerns that the bill may eventually be discarded, while some experts say this worst-case scenario is unlikely to happen, as Korea will have to implement the FATF’s anti-laundering guidelines by June. Legislation & Judiciary Committee passes the so-called “three corona laws” At 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Legislation & Judiciary Committee held a meeting to approve the so-called “three corona act,” which is a set of law reforms regarding quarantine, medical treatment and prevention of the epidemic. The acts were placed at the top of the list following the rapid increase of confirmed patients of the new coronavirus and the consequent growth in public unease surrounding it. The Korea Finance Act was originally expected to be approved at the meeting that day, but didn’t even make the discussion table. The reform plan would define the boundaries of crypto assets, related businesses and tax report duties. The government also has a substantial interest in the bill as it was to set the taxation standards for cryptocurrencies in the future. As the Korea Finance Act was exempted from Wednesday’s review, it will have to wait for the next session on March 5, a day before the National Assembly’s main session starts. Uncertainties in March But the likelihood of a March review is uncertain. Potential coronavirus patients have occurred among lawmakers since last week, which led to an unprecedented closure of the National Assembly building on Feb. 24 and 25. Consequently, schedules at the National Assembly have been delayed. “The Legislation & Judiciary Committee meeting is scheduled for March 4, but directors haven’t reached an agreement on the original plan. It’s difficult to pinpoint upcoming schedules,” said an aide to Lawmaker Kim Do-eup, the United Future Party’s representative director. The secretary for Lawmaker Kim Byung-wook, of the Democratic Party of Korea echoed those remarks. The act will be automatically discarded if it doesn’t pass the general meeting in March, which will be the last meeting held by the 20 National Assembly. In that case, the process will have to start from scratch, from submitting another bill after the April 5 general election. Under this scenario, it would be impossible to meet the FATF’s advised June deadline to implement anti-laundering guidelines, which is why some industry watchers say the bill will not be passed on to the next National Assembly. Regardless, cryptocurrency businesses are expressing concerns over the delayed approval. “The Korea Finance Act is the first step in legislating the cryptocurrency industry, to incorporate it into the regulatory system. It’s upsetting to see this postponed,” said an industry source.