The Democratic Party of Korea has made it mandatory for prospective candidates to disclose their crypto holdings and professional backgrounds to the entire nation, in a bid to snatch up votes ahead of South Korea’s 2024 general election.
The chairman of the Democratic Party’s strategic planning committee, Han Byung-do, told journalists in a private meeting that it has “decided to verify whether candidates have conflicts of interest in virtual assets from the screening stage of the verification committee.” Along with crypto, candidates will now be required to disclose career history, academic background, and photos which will then be accessible by every South Korean voter, local outlet News 1 reports.
The opposition party’s decision was apparently made to improve the public image of candidates ahead of the 2024 general election. “We will build public trust in the general election through the aspect of a political party that prepares for the future,” Han said. The chairman added that in the event candidates are caught submitting fake reports, they will no longer be in the running.
The Democratic Party currently holds a majority in the Korean National Assembly with 167 out of 300 seats. It has been increasingly critical of President Yoon Suk-yeol’s administration, particularly on his decisions to strengthen ties with the US and Japan and openly criticise China. The Democratic Party fears that contributing to the momentum of the US Indo-Pacific strategy will alienate China and therefore jeopardize South Korea’s growth and security.
However, while the two parties are at odds when it comes to international relations, they appear in sync when it comes to crypto regulation. The Democratic Party’s decision to make disclosures mandatory for upcoming candidates comes hot on the heels of recent legislation unanimously passed by South Korea’s National Assembly in late May, in which lawmakers and other high-ranking government officials are required to declare their crypto holdings.
Known as the ‘Kim Nam-gun Prevention Act,’ the bill amended the National Assembly Act and the Public Official Ethics Act following a scandal that rocked the country. At the start of May, Democratic Party lawmaker Kim Nam-gun was forced to leave the party after media uncovered that he owned 6 billion won ($4.4 million) worth of highly controversial Wemix tokens and offloaded them right before new crypto disclosure rules took effect in March.
South Korean game developer Wemade developed play-to-earn video games and issued Wemix tokens to players, which quickly gained popularity among crypto traders. However, when Wemade distributed more Wemix than it promised to fund expansions, the country’s four crypto exchanges delisted the token in order to protect investors.
The case marked a turning point for South Korea’s lawmakers, who realized that robust crypto regulation was sorely needed. This latest decision by the Democratic Party is the latest example of South Korea bolstering transparency among lawmakers — placing it further ahead than the US and UK.