The National Assembly of the Republic of Korea conducted a parliamentary audit of the Bank of Korea (BOK) on Monday. During the hearing, the bank’s governor Lee Joo-yeol told lawmakers that he cannot recognize digital currencies including bitcoin as currency, according to local publications.
“Is it possible to see virtual money as a currency?” Lee was asked. He responded, “it is difficult to look at the example of the International Settlement Banks (BIS) in terms of money,” Yonhap News reported. Regarding the need to regulate digital currency, he said:
Regulation is appropriate for it because it is regarded as a commodity. It is not a regulation at the level of money…It is not a situation for the Bank of Korea to take action at present.
In addition, Lee said that “the possibility that the central bank’s digital money will be issued in the near future is likely to become a means of payment specialized for interbank transactions or central bank transactions.”
Moreover, Democratic Party lawmaker and member of the National Assembly’s Planning and Finance Committee, Song Young-gil, pointed out that the audit of the central bank reveals that its research on digital currency “is poor,” Yonhap News detailed.
Song criticized the bank for its lack of research compared to other central banks on digital currencies, such as bitcoin and ether. He noted that “there are more than 1,000 companies that can use bitcoin in Korea. However, the data provided [by BOK] shows insufficient numbers,” Asiae News quoted him.
“Virtual currency and blockchains are important research subjects, if you neglect them, you can lose the future market,” Song asserted, adding that “the bank should do more research in the future.”
Responding to the lawmaker, Lee said, “I fully agree with your point of view.” Noting that “we also refer to a lot of virtual currency research conducted in countries like Sweden,” he promised:
The Bank of Korea will put more emphasis on virtual currency research.