From 2024, almost six thousand South Korean officials will be obliged to publicly disclose their crypto holdings. The country’s Ministry of Personnel Management announced on Dec. 27 that information about government officials’ private holdings of crypto assets will be included in the Public Official Ethics System.
Background on Public Official Ethics System
Previously, some Korean civil servants disclosed their crypto holdings in the government’s official gazette or on the websites of ministries or parliamentary chambers. However, with the Public Official Ethics System, Korean citizens will gain access to at least 5,800 officials’ declarations in 2024.
From June 2024, five major South Korean crypto exchanges, namely Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit, and Gopax, will launch separate “information provision systems.” These systems are designed to simplify the registration process for officials’ crypto holdings.
Inciting Incident: The Case of Kim Nam-kuk
In May 2023, Democratic Party member Kim Nam-kuk was scrutinized for holding at least $4.5 million in Wemix (WEMIX) tokens. This incident raised concerns about conflicts of interest and potential misuse of insider information.
In response to this incident, South Korea’s National Assembly amended the National Assembly Act and the Public Service Ethics Act, mandating the disclosure of crypto assets by civil servants.
Democratic Party’s Proactive Measures
In November, the Democratic Party of Korea, which holds a significant portion of the National Assembly seats, also required its candidates to disclose their digital asset holdings on their party profiles.
This move towards transparency in the handling of crypto assets by public officials marks a significant step in South Korea’s approach to regulating the burgeoning cryptocurrency market and addressing ethical concerns in governance.