In a bid to enhance transparency, South Korea is preparing to reveal the crypto and other asset holdings of around 5,800 public officials to the general public. This initiative, mandated by recent legislation, will kick off next year, aiming to offer heightened visibility into the financial portfolios of government employees.
Improving Transparency through Legislative Measures
The Ethics Policy Division of South Korea announced that starting next year, public officials will undergo an integrated asset disclosure service, including crypto. While currently documented in official gazettes, these asset disclosures will now be accessible through the Public Official Ethics System (PETI), aligning with the government’s commitment to increased transparency.
Kim Seung-ho, the director of personnel management, expressed optimism regarding the impact of the new legislation on transparency within the public service community. In a post, he mentioned,
“We expect that the transparency of the public service community will be further increased through the implementation of an integrated service for public official property disclosure and property registration of virtual assets.”
Cooperation from Crypto Exchanges for Information Provision
To streamline the disclosure process, major South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges such as Upbit, Bithumb, Coinone, Korbit, and Gopax plan to establish information provision systems by June 2024. This collaborative initiative seeks to facilitate the tracking of officials’ cryptocurrency holdings. This will further contribute to the overall success of the disclosure effort.
Legislative Action Triggered by High-Profile Scandal
The legislative adjustments were prompted by the controversy surrounding Kim Nam-kuk, who faced allegations linked to his ownership of Wemix tokens. The incident raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest, insider information usage, and even money laundering. Consequently, the National Assembly of South Korea unanimously passed amendments to the National Assembly Act and the Public Service Ethics Act in May 2023, mandating the disclosure of cryptocurrency assets by civil servants.
South Korea’s proactive stance towards enhancing transparency in its public service community underscores a commitment to accountability and ethical conduct. The new legislation, compelling public officials to disclose their cryptocurrency holdings via the PETI system, marks a significant stride in fostering trust and openness. As the integrated asset disclosure service takes effect, it will set a precedent for similar measures in the global endeavor to regulate and monitor cryptocurrency transactions among public officials.