South Korean presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol has officially been elected as South Korea’s next president.
The election was one of the closest in South Korean history, according to BBC coverage. Yoon, representing the conservative People Power Party, claim victory over his more politically progressive opponent, Lee Jae-myung, by a margin of less than 1%.
Cryptocurrency played a leading role in South Korea’s election debate, with both candidates releasing campaign-related nonfungible tokens (NFTs). Their crypto-sympathetic stances were opposite to former-President Moon Jae-In’s crackdown on crypto exchanges last year, helping cultivate favor with the younger and more crypto-enthusiastic demographic.
Speaking at a virtual asset forum in January, Yoon promised to deregulate South Korea’s crypto industry, establishing his forward-thinking stance on digital assets.
“To realize the unlimited potential of the virtual asset market, we must overhaul regulations that are far from reality and unreasonable.”
Continuing his plans for crypto-positive developments pending his election, Yoon stated that he wished to help create blockchain tech-related “unicorns,” which are startups that grow to be worth $1 billion or more in South Korea.
Yoon also promised to introduce some form of legislation that would see crypto profits gained from illicit activity returned to its victims.
In a possibly related development, the native token of the South Korean ICON blockchain Icon (ICX) surged 60% in the past 12 hours. It pulled back a little but was still up 40% at the time of writing. Yoon famously minted his signature on the blockchain at a televised startup forum in December last year.
Regulation concerning crypto has been a minefield for South Korean politicians, with strict rulings seeing the bulk of South Korea’s crypto exchanges shut down in September 2021. A lack of legislative clarity surrounding the taxation of digital assets has been a continual source of confusion for citizens and legislative bodies alike.
Cryptocurrency is gaining popularity with young South Koreans. According to reports from local news outlets, young people have been leaving their jobs to pursue day-trading cryptocurrencies. South Korea’s traditional stock market, by contrast, is dominated by four family-owned conglomerates known as chaebols, which many believe to be corrupt and politically influential.
Before the major crackdown on crypto exchanges in September last year, trading volumes on South Korea’s top exchanges were exceeding those of the stock market.