Ahn Chul-soo. Source: A screenshot, Instagram/ahncheolsoo

The founder of a leading opposition party, the tech guru Ahn Chul-soo of the software giant and antivirus provider AhnLab, has hit out at the South Korean government’s crypto policy.

Per Maeil Kyungjae, Ahn lashed out at the ruling Democratic Party and the government’s plans to impose a 20% levy on crypto tax profits, which will come into force next year – claiming that Seoul should step up the level of protection it affords investors.

Ahn stated,

“Even gangsters who demand protection money offer some form of protection. […] The government is worse than gangsters in this regard. […] It has neglected the crypto sector and allowed it to become a gambling den.”

Ahn founded the People Party (not to be confused with the main opposition People Power Party) in 2020, and is also a mainstay in South Korean politics. He ran for President in 2011 and 2017, and ran for the position of Seoul mayor in 2018 and again in 2021, before pulling out to endorse the ultimately victorious candidate, Oh Se-hoon.

As part of his 2021 mayoral campaign, Ahn promised to make a swathe of blockchain technology-related investments, and has still not ruled out running in next year’s presidential elections.

He also opined that crypto should be taxed in the same manner as stock trading. As previously reported, domestic stock traders are allowed to offset their tax bills for up to five years, while the threshold for tax payments on stock trading-related profits is USD 42,000 per year, providing traders invest in KOSDAQ-listed companies. The crypto threshold, however, will be just USD 2,100 per year. Angry crypto advocates have claimed the measures are unfair and discriminatory.

Ahn added that the government should provide a safety next for crypto investors by creating a permit-based system for crypto exchanges, whereby regulators could check that trading platforms meet stringent criteria – and enforce rules that would protect investors’ funds from fraud and hacking-related risks.

Ahn is not the only political heavyweight to pile pressure on the government – the main opposition People Power Party has formed a “crypto” task force and has accused Seoul of “betraying” the nation’s youth with its attempts to tax and regulate the crypto sector.
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