The Cryptocurrency Investment Boom Spreads to Politicians and Senior Public Officials

Cryptocurrencies have become a noteworthy investment among politicians and senior public officials. Of the 900 candidates running for the 22nd National Assembly, 7%, equivalent to 63 individuals, were found to hold cryptocurrencies, with an average holding value of about 17 million KRW each. Notably, the family of Jang Sung-min, a candidate from the People Power Party, declared holdings worth 464 million KRW in Bitcoin, which, at current valuations, would be worth approximately 820 million KRW. Additionally, Kim Jun-hyuk, a candidate from the Democratic Party, reported owning Bitcoin valued at 114 million KRW, and Lee Jun-seok, a candidate from the Reform Party, has deposits worth 587 million KRW in exchanges such as Upbit and Bithumb.

Kim Nam-guk, a member of the Democratic Party of Korea, saw his cryptocurrency holdings increase by more than 1 billion KRW during this year’s market upturn. Solana, which makes up a significant portion of his portfolio, nearly doubled in value this year. Kim declared ownership of 78 types of cryptocurrencies, totaling 1.54644 billion KRW, including a majority in various altcoins like Solana and Klaytn. The current value of his top 8 cryptocurrencies is estimated at about 2.33 billion KRW, indicating a significant increase if he has maintained his holdings.

The disclosure of cryptocurrency assets among government and local government senior officials also revealed intriguing facts. Despite a slight decrease in the average total declared assets due to a downturn in the real estate market and a drop in public valuation, 111 out of 1975 individuals, or 5% of the subjects, reported owning cryptocurrencies worth a total of 47.02 billion KRW. Eight public officials declared owning more than 100 million KRW in cryptocurrencies, with the largest amount reported by Jo Man-hyeong, the Chairman of the Jeollanam-do Autonomous Police Committee, at 1.0711 billion KRW.

This phenomenon demonstrates that cryptocurrency investment has transcended mere trend status, becoming a noteworthy financial strategy among experts from various fields. Particularly, the inclusion of cryptocurrency holdings in the property declarations of electoral candidates highlights societal interest and the importance of transparency. The Public Officials Ethics Committee plans to verify the reported details of transactions conducted through major exchanges and intends to monitor for any signs of abnormal asset increases, aiming to detect illicit gains or failures to report. The emergence of cryptocurrencies as a new form of wealth and the subsequent changes are expected to continue stimulating discussion in the future.