South Korean Regulator Flags Legal Concerns Over Foreign Bitcoin ETFs

South Korean Regulator Flags Legal Concerns Over Foreign Bitcoin ETFs

By: Isha Das

South Korea's Financial Services Commission (FSC) has warned that domestic securities firms brokering overseas-listed Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs) could potentially be violating local laws. The regulator pointed out the inconsistencies with the Virtual Asset User Protection Act and the Capital Markets Act in a notice published on January 12.

Following this warning, some local securities firms, including Samsung Group's securities division and Mirae Asset Securities, suspended their services for these foreign spot Bitcoin ETFs in countries like Canada and the U.S. Additionally, the FSC has announced intentions to review its regulations comprehensively, seeking to align them with international best practices.

This concern arises amidst the FSC's renewed prohibition on crypto investments by financial institutions, which began in December 2017. Meanwhile, public officials in South Korea are now required to disclose their crypto assets. On another front, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the launch of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 10, which saw a trading volume exceeding $4 billion on the first day of trading.

However, American firms like Vanguard have mirrored Korea's regulatory stance, also restricting customers from purchasing these Bitcoin ETFs, stating these investments do not align with their investment philosophy.

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