Taiwan To Be Lenient Towards Cryptocurrency

Reports today, October 6, 2017, indicate that chairman Wellington Koo of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission declared to a joint session of Parliament and the Cabinet that, rather than follow China and South Korea down roads of restrictive regulation, Taiwan would move to support the adoption of cryptocurrencies and stimulate the development of distributed ledger technology.

In agreement with Koo is Kuomintang Party congressman Jason Hsu, who had recently requested clarification from Koo regarding Taiwan's posture on cryptocurrencies. Hsu had previously suggested that exploration of blockchain technology represents an opportunity for the island nation to embrace innovation and seize economic growth. Such news suggests that Taiwan may take a similarly relaxed position on token offerings (also called ICOs). According to Hsu, the statement will help pave the way for the introduction of the "Financial Technology Innovation Experimentation Act" later in the current parliamentary session. He said:

“Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn’t mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future. We should emulate Japan, where they treat cryptocurrency as a highly regulated, highly monitored industry like securities.”

Both China and South Korea have acted less favorably toward token offerings. In late September, South Korean officials released a statement that warned of unspecified penalties for companies that violate a forthcoming prohibition on token offerings. This came on the heels of news from China that a possible impending suspension of trade might halt exchange activities, even while China continues to sponsor research on blockchain technology.

Companies involved in Taiwan’s cryptocurrency market want to grow the industry. As reported, the country's singular digital asset exchange MaiCoin has roughly 25,000 users, which is a small sliver of Taiwan's population. To stimulate growth of the market AMIS, sister corporation to MaiCoin, has engaged financial institutions to collaborate in a consortium. Thus far, Taipei Fubon Bank and Taishin International Bank have joined forces towards this effort, with investment funding from Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute.

As Taiwan joins those coming off the fence and taking a stance on cryptocurrency regulation, eyes shift toward those countries yet to weigh in and provide a direction for policy.