Lawmaker plans to accept political donations in cryptocurrencies

SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) — A ruling party lawmaker plans to accept political donations in cryptocurrencies, his office said Thursday, amid rising interest in virtual assets in the country.

Rep. Lee Kwang-jae of the ruling Democratic Party is trying to get campaign contributions in virtual currencies and issue non-fungible tokens (NFTs) as a receipt for such donations starting mid-January.

If realized, Lee would be the first lawmaker in South Korea to accept virtual assets for campaign finance.

“We are currently reviewing selection of local (virtual asset) wallet providers,” an official from Lee’s office said. “We will reveal our wallet address on our blog, Facebook page and YouTube channel in early January.”

Since it is an experimental project, Lee’s office said it first plans to receive 10 million won (US$8,450) worth of virtual asset donations, with a 1 million won limit set for each donor.

His office is looking to take Bitcoin and Ethereum, the two largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, and a couple of homegrown virtual currencies.

The donated virtual assets will be converted into cash at a local cryptocurrency exchange and will be used in accordance with political finance regulations.

Due to its high volatility, Lee’s office said the actual value of donated cryptocurrency could be different when it is converted into cash, meaning donors can see tax deduction amounts that are different from their expectations when they conduct year-end tax settlement for their donations.