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As South Korea’s general elections draw ever nearer, the nation’s provincial governors appear to have grown bolder – and are looking to strengthen their political positions by taking on Seoul over its crypto policy.
While last week it was the turn of the Governor of the province of Jeju Island, the crypto-owning Won Hee-ryong, who declared his wish to debate the former Prime Minister about crypto among other things, this week the Governor of Gyeonggi Province has spoken out on the increasingly thorny issue of crypto tax.
Seoul had originally planned to start taxing crypto trading profits of USD 2,100 or over at a flat rate of 20% from October this year, but after pleas from exchanges decided to delay the launch of taxes until January 1, 2022. However, the plans have been the subject of bitter criticism from mainly younger South Koreans – who happen to make up the bulk of the ruling Democratic Party’s support.
This criticism has led many in the ruling party to hint that a tax U-turn is not impossible, even at this late stage. And per Hanguk Kyungjae and WowTV, Lee Jae-myung, the Gyeonggi Province Governor and one of the two leading candidates for the Democratic Party presidential candidate nomination, has called for a one-year delay to the launch of the tax.
Lee Jae-myung, the former mayor of Seongnam, is around 5% points behind his major challenger for the nomination, but media reports claim the gap is closing fast.
He stated that delaying the tax by a year would allow the new levy to launch in sync with a revised stock trading tax law that is set to promulgate in January 2023.
Under Lee Jae-myung’s governorship, a number of local stablecoin projects in the province – which surrounds Seoul, is the nation’s richest and is also home to most of the country’s biggest tech and electronics giants – have expanded rapidly.
Meanwhile, the Jeju Governor Won, reported Yonhap last week, also fancies a tilt at the presidency – and called for a “crypto debate” with Lee Nak-yon, the former Prime Minister. Lee Nak-yon is now the leader of the Democratic Party and also one of the crypto sector’s fiercest critics.
Won has gone on the record as stating that he bought some USD 900 worth of bitcoin (BTC) and other coins in a bid to better understand the viewpoints of the crypto-keen youth – and was challenged by the former PM on the sagacity of his decision.
Won claimed in retaliation that Lee Nak-yon and the government were guilty of “neglecting” the crypto sector and knew “nothing about the crypto trading market.”