The future of NFTs and crypto ETFs: the meeting between the regulator of South Korea and Gary Gensler


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A recent report suggests that the Financial Services Commission of South Korea is preparing to participate in crucial talks with the president of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler, scheduled for May of this year. The agenda? Classifying NFTs and approving spot bitcoin ETFs. 

In the dynamic landscape of cryptocurrencies and digital assets, the classification and regulation of emerging technologies such as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) have become key points of discussion among regulators worldwide. 

South Korea’s regulatory agency ready to discuss with SEC’s Gensler about the crypto world

Currently, South Korea distinguishes between cryptocurrencies and NFTs, with the latter not falling under the classification of “virtual assets”. The reason for this distinction stems from the perception that NFTs have a relatively minor influence on financial markets compared to cryptocurrencies.

However, the surge in speculative activity surrounding NFTs, combined with the rapid appreciation of major cryptocurrencies, has prompted regulatory authorities to reconsider their position.

Governor Lee Bok-hyun of the Financial Supervisory Service intends to discuss with Gensler the potential reclassification of NFTs as virtual assets. 

This move could bring NFTs under the control of local financial regulators, subjecting their issuers and distributors to strict regulatory frameworks, similar to those applied to cryptocurrency service providers. 

Specifically, when South Korea implemented its first set of regulatory requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges in September 2021, more than half of the local trading platforms ceased operations due to compliance difficulties.

In addition to the classification of NFTs, the meeting between Gensler and Governor Lee aims to address the approval of bitcoin spot ETFs in South Korea. Currently, the country imposes restrictions on local institutions launching cryptocurrency-related products and prohibits companies from facilitating foreign-based bitcoin spot ETFs.

However, in a climate of growing anticipation, both the political party in power and the opposition have expressed their intention to support the launch of national bitcoin ETFs, especially in light of the upcoming general elections on April 10th.

Commitment to regulating South Korea

South Korea is ready to launch the first phase of its regulatory framework aimed at protecting cryptocurrency investors, which is expected to come into effect in July. The second phase, focused on standardizing the issuance of crypto tokens and improving information disclosure practices, is currently under development.

The upcoming meeting between the financial supervisory authority of South Korea and the president of the SEC highlights the global importance of collaboration between regulatory authorities in managing the complexities of the digital asset ecosystem. 

With the resolution on the classification of NFTs and the approval of spot ETFs on bitcoin, both countries intend to promote a favorable regulatory environment that balances innovation with investor protection.

For South Korea, reclassifying NFTs as virtual assets would represent a proactive step towards mitigating the potential risks associated with speculative fervor in the digital art and collectibles sector. 

In addition, by paving the way for the approval of physically-backed bitcoin ETFs, the country seeks to provide investors with regulated tools to participate in the booming cryptocurrency market.

At a global level, these discussions have broader implications for the adoption and mainstream integration of digital assets into traditional financial systems. 

As governments and regulatory bodies grapple with the evolving nature of financial technology, collaboration and dialogue are emerging as indispensable tools for creating effective regulatory frameworks that promote innovation while safeguarding the interests of investors.


In conclusion, the upcoming dialogue between the financial regulator of South Korea and the SEC president represents a crucial moment in the global regulation of digital assets. 

With the classification of NFTs and the approval of bitcoin spot ETFs on the agenda, this meeting emphasizes the imperative of collaborating to navigate the complexities of the evolving financial landscape. Reassessing the classification of NFTs as virtual assets and exploring the potential approval of bitcoin spot ETFs, both countries aim to find a balance between promoting innovation and protecting investors. 

These discussions have broader implications for the mainstream adoption of digital assets and their integration into traditional financial systems. The dialogue between governments and regulatory bodies lays the groundwork for the development of robust regulatory frameworks that promote responsible innovation and mitigate the risks associated with speculative fervor. 

In conclusion, this dialogue represents a step forward in promoting an environment conducive to sustainable growth and the integration of digital assets, paving the way for a more inclusive and resilient global financial ecosystem.