Cryptocurrencies are officially entering the race for the upcoming presidential election to be held on 9 March in South Korea.
The progressive candidate, governor of Gyeonggi Province, Lee Jae Myung, who is running for the Democratic Progressive Party has announced that he will also accept payments in cryptocurrencies to finance his campaign.
South Korea elections, pro-cryptocurrency candidate
The governor added that those who finance his campaign will receive in return an image of him as an NFT with election promises. This will make him the first politician to issue NFTs in history.
According to many, Lee’s move is aimed at winning favour with the younger population. According to a recent survey in Korea, some 40.5 % of people between the ages of 21 and 40 said they had invested in cryptocurrencies.
At the same time, Jae Myung has long been considered very supportive of cryptocurrencies. In November, he said in an interview that cryptocurrencies are an “undeniable reality”, which is “recognised by many people as a means to exchange and store value”. He also added how the trading volume on South Korea’s cryptocurrency market had already surpassed that of the KOSPI stock market.
Crypto trading in South Korea
Last summer, the volume of crypto transactions in the country had reached $14.6 billion compared to $14.5 billion for KOSPI. The Korean cryptocurrency market is considered the third largest in the world. According to the report by analyst firm Statista in South Korea, more than 5 million Koreans invested in cryptocurrencies in 2021.
Presidential candidate Myung, the son of a garbage collector, who is polled about 7 points behind People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl, has also promised cryptocurrency-friendly legislation, postponing the new taxation on virtual assets until 2023.
The Korean government in October decided to impose a 20% tax on capital gains of more than 2.5 million won (about US$2,100) from virtual asset transactions next year. But according to Lee, this law would be rushed and it would therefore be appropriate to move it by one year to fully assess how to value transaction income from digital assets.
“There are views that taxation on wealth income, including from virtual assets, should take place fully in 2023. We also need to increase the tax deduction limit”.
Lee also stood out for his proposal that if he wins, he wants to build nuclear submarines to defend against the threat from North Korea, convinced that under his leadership South Korea
“will overtake Japan, catch up with other advanced countries and finally lead the world”.
And it is for these rather exuberant statements that he has earned the nickname of Sprite, after the famous carbonated drink.