South Korean lawmakers and high-ranking government officials are now required by law to disclose their crypto assets holdings following a recent scandal involving a politician violating campaign finance laws using cryptocurrency. The bill was officially passed into law by the National Assembly after amendments to the National Assembly Act and Public Service Ethics Act passed unanimously on May 22 among all lawmakers present, with 269 and 268 votes respectively. The relevant amendment places cryptocurrencies under the list of registered properties and “private interests” of lawmakers. The amendment aims to provide transparency and accountability among government officials. The bill was originally scheduled for implementation in December but was fast-tracked to this month after conservative People Power Party’s newly elected leader, Rep. Yun Jae-ok, said the previous date was “too late.”
According to a report from News1, the bill is commonly known as the “Kim Nam-guk Prevention Law,” a reference to the former Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Nam-guk who was alleged to have cashed out $4.5 million in cryptocurrency at Wemix exchange early last year. The same lawmaker backed legislation in 2022 to defer a law implementing a 20% capital gains tax on cryptocurrencies from 2023 to 2025, though he’s denied any conflicts of interest. The revelations invited investigations into the former lawmaker for suspected campaign finance violations, tax portals, and criminal possession of crypto.
Lawmakers in the United States are already required to disclose their crypto and Bitcoin holdings, among whom only a small number hold any digital assets. Senator Cynthia Lummis revealed in 2021 that she owns 5 BTC, three of which she bought for just $300. Senator Ted Cruz has also confessed to owning a little over 2 BTC, citing the asset as a long-term inflation hedge and decentralized governance. He said that he has a standing order to buy more Bitcoin every Monday morning, adding, “I like bitcoin for the same reason that the Chinese communist government doesn’t like bitcoin. They don’t like bitcoin, and they banned it because they can’t control it.”