A recent report suggests that South Korea’s Financial Services Commission is preparing to participate in crucial talks with US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler, scheduled for May this year. The agenda? Classifying NFTs and approving bitcoin spot ETFs.

In the dynamic cryptocurrency and digital asset landscape, the classification and regulation of emerging technologies such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have become key points of discussion among regulators around the world.

South Korea’s regulatory agency ready to discuss the crypto world together with Gensler’s SEC

At present, South Korea distinguishes between cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the latter do not fall under the classification of “virtual assets”. The rationale for this distinction stems from the perception that NFTs exert relatively less influence on financial markets than cryptocurrencies.

However, the surge in speculative activity surrounding NFTs, combined with the rapid appreciation of major cryptocurrencies, has prompted regulators to review their stance.

Governor Lee Bok-hyun of the Financial Supervisory Service plans to deliberate with Gensler on the potential reclassification of NFTs as virtual assets.

This move could bring NFTs under the scrutiny of local financial regulators, subjecting their issuers and distributors to rigorous regulatory frameworks, similar to those applied to cryptocurrency service providers.

Notably, when South Korea implemented its first set of regulatory requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges in September 2021, more than half of local trading platforms ceased operations due to compliance difficulties.

In addition to the classification of NFTs, the meeting between Gensler and Governor Lee aims to address the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs in South Korea. Currently, the country imposes restrictions on local institutions launching cryptocurrency-related products and bans company to facilitate foreign-based spot bitcoin ETFs.

However, in a climate of growing anticipation, both the ruling and opposition political parties have expressed their intention to support the launch of domestic spot bitcoin ETFs, particularly in light of the upcoming general elections on April 10.

South Korea’s Regulatory Engagement

South Korea is set to launch the first phase of its regulatory framework to protect cryptocurrency investors, which is expected to come into force in July. The second phase, focused on standardizing the issuance of crypto tokens and improving information disclosure practices, is currently under development.

The upcoming meeting between South Korea’s financial regulator and the SEC chairman highlights the global importance of collaboration between regulators in managing the complexities of the digital asset ecosystem.

With the resolution on the classification of NFTs and the approval of bitcoin spot ETFs, both countries aim to promote a favorable regulatory environment that balances innovation with investor protection.

For South Korea, reclassifying NFTs as virtual assets would represent a proactive step towards mitigating potential risks associated with the speculative fervor in the digital art and collectibles sector.

Furthermore, by pioneering the approval of spot bitcoin ETFs, the country seeks to provide investors with regulated tools to participate in the burgeoning cryptocurrency market.

Globally, these discussions have broader implications for the mainstream adoption and integration of digital assets into traditional financial systems.

As governments and regulators grapple with the evolving nature of financial technology, collaboration and dialogue emerge as indispensable tools to create effective regulatory frameworks that promote innovation while safeguarding the interests of investors.


In conclusion, the upcoming dialogue between South Korea’s financial regulator and the SEC Chairman represents a pivotal moment in the global regulation of digital assets.

With the classification of NFTs and the approval of bitcoin spot ETFs on the agenda, this meeting highlights the imperative to collaborate to navigate the complexities of the evolving financial landscape. By reevaluating the classification of NFTs as virtual assets and exploring the potential approval of bitcoin spot ETFs, both countries aim to strike a balance between promoting innovation and protecting investors.

These discussions have broader implications for the mainstream adoption of digital assets and their integration into traditional financial systems. Dialogue between governments and regulators lays the foundation for the development of robust regulatory frameworks that promote responsible innovation and mitigate the risks associated with speculative fervor.

Ultimately, this dialogue represents a step forward in promoting an environment conducive to the sustainable growth and integration of digital assets, paving the way for a more inclusive and resilient global financial ecosystem.

Source: https://cryptonomist.ch/2024/02/26/corea-del-sud-gensler-sec-crypto/

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