Despite legislative uncertainty that haunts the crypto space, politicians now seem to be riding on its popularity to appease voters as election agendas begin to surface.
Ruling and opposition parties lock horns
Since its first appearance in the South Korean elections in March, crypto remains a deciding factor for election agendas. Both presidential candidates had made pro-crypto pledges in their manifestos, marking a departure in policy from incumbent President Moon Jae-in.
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Now, after the victory of the Conservative People Power Party’s Yoon Suk-yeol, the Presidential Transition Committee is already considering the issuance of Security Token Offerings (STOs) among other legislative measures for the digital space.
Australia’s minister for financial services, Jane Hume, has argued for the growth in the crypto industry as an upcoming election promise, according to a recent report by the Financial Times.
She explained in a speech last month that crypto has the potential to create thousands of new jobs and escalate Australia’s economic growth by over a half. Hume has also reportedly taken a dig at the opposition Labor party which could, according to her, ban the asset class altogether. Indeed, crypto users have also been drawing a contrast between the approaches of the ruling and opposition party in Australia when it comes to digital assets.
Earlier this week, Minister Hume released a crypto consultation paper for a new regulatory and licensing regime.
In the past, crypto investor Mark Carnegie remarked that crypto should be at the center of the May elections. “The idea that the Labor Party does not have a policy about what we’re doing about this, it just shows you the failure of leadership,” he commented.
Could election agendas help policymakers decide on crypto?
It is evident that crypto ownership has grown tremendously, as the global figures for 2021 stand at over 300 million crypto users – with the number of users estimated to reach 1 billion by December 2022, according to an industry report.
Meanwhile, the popularity of the digital asset class has led to officials changing their tunes. Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao, agreed in a recent interview that, “the tide is definitely turning.”
Nicolas Cary, the co-founder of Blockchain.com, told CNBC, that “the regulatory landscape around the world is coming up to speed quickly,”
Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood also acknowledged the “180 degrees” difference between how policymakers, including the US Treasury approach crypto now, versus how they did last year.
Wood had also told CNBC recently that a lot of people are going to vote on crypto, adding that “…we’re getting politicians and policymakers coming up to us, who want to run for office, and they say: ‘can you help us pull together a group of crypto minded people. I want to learn how I can make their lives easier.’ It’s pretty astonishing.”
Despite the crypto boom, the policy arguments are not bipartisan. And Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is increasingly worried about crypto’s political association in the U.S.
“There’s definitely signs that are making it seem like crypto is on the verge of becoming a right-leaning thing. If it does happen, we’ll sacrifice a lot of the potential it has to offer,” he told TIME.
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