On Thursday, March 10, Yoon Suk-yeol, the leader of South Korea’s largest opposition party clinched victory, becoming the president-elect after scooping roughly 49% of the votes using among other campaign strategies, a platform that appealed to crypto enthusiasts.
Yoon, 61, had come up with the brilliant plan of spreading a crypto-friendly narrative, wooing a huge number of people in their 20s and 30s who are already balls deep into cryptocurrencies.
The former prosecutor who draws a lot of admiration from South Korea’s younger generation for helping imprison two former presidents indicted on corruption charges has promised to raise the threshold of paying capital gains tax on cryptocurrency from $2000 to $40,000, coming out as one of the most generous government seigniorages on crypto globally.
Apart from promising to institutionalize cryptocurrencies and NFTs under a new government agency to be named the Digital Industry Promotion Agency, he also plans on enacting a comprehensive legal framework for digital assets which he said would help the country “recover illegal profits from unfair trade practices”.
On Monday, Yoon issued at least 4000 NFTs featuring a video of himself on the Aergo Blockchain with sales being conducted on CCCV, a South Korean marketplace, for 50,000 Korean won (US$40.78) each in the last attempt to sway young voters. His presidential competitor, Democratic Party of Korea’s Lee Jae-Myung had also attempted to use similar strategies, although his manifesto mostly appealed to elderly voters.
A recent report by the country’s National Federation of Business Entrepreneurs reveals 4 out of 10 Korean nationals in the 20s and 30s have invested in cryptocurrencies with the amounts of deposits into four largest South Korea-based crypto exchanges exceeding 60 trillion Korean won (roughly $50.9 billion).
“There is an estimate of 8.4 million people that hold cryptocurrencies in Korea, and more than 60% of them are in their 20s and 30s,” Kim Hyoung-Joong, president of the Korea Society of Fintech Blockchain has recently been quoted.
Meanwhile, Yoon’s crypto-friendly stance is a shift away from previous regimes, with the outgoing government leveling the hardest blow on digital assets since 2017. His win is thus seen as a triumph for digital assets investors with South Korea taking a lead for its high crypto adoption rates globally.