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South Korea Turns to the US SEC for Insights on Spot Bitcoin ETFs Regulation


South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), a key financial regulator, is looking to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for guidance on the regulation of spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs). This strategic move comes after the SEC’s historic approval of the first spot Bitcoin ETFs in January, signaling a shift in global regulatory perspectives on cryptocurrency investments.

FSS Chief’s Business Strategy:

FSS chief Lee Bok-Hyun unveiled a comprehensive business strategy for the upcoming year during a Seoul event on Feb. 5. As part of this strategy, the FSS aims to engage with major financial markets, particularly New York, to facilitate discussions on various aspects of the South Korean financial landscape. The spotlight of these discussions will be on spot Bitcoin ETFs, and the FSS is keen on seeking insights from the SEC’s recent regulatory decisions.

US SEC’s Historical Shift:

The SEC’s approval of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs in January marked a significant departure from its previous stance, where concerns about market manipulation risks had led to the rejection of such applications. This reversal prompted a global reevaluation of spot Bitcoin ETFs, influencing regulatory considerations worldwide.

Strategic Engagement with SEC: Lee Bok-Hyun revealed plans to meet with SEC Chair Gary Gensler later in the year. The discussions will encompass various topics, including digital assets and the regulatory framework for spot Bitcoin ETFs. The dialogue is expected to provide valuable insights into the SEC’s recent policy shifts and their potential impact on global financial regulations.

Significance of SEC’s Influence:

The FSS chief emphasized the importance of engaging with the SEC, acknowledging the significant influence of its policies on the international financial stage. This move suggests a potential shift in South Korea’s regulatory approach, aligning it more closely with the evolving perspectives on cryptocurrency investments.

Previous Regulatory Caution:

Previously, the Korean securities regulator had cautioned local firms against involvement in brokering activities for U.S.-based spot Bitcoin ETFs, citing potential conflicts with existing regulations. Despite this caution, the FSS has indicated a willingness to reassess and potentially update its stance on the approval process for spot Bitcoin ETFs, taking cues from the evolving regulatory landscape in the United States.

South Korea’s Historical Alignment with US Regulations: South Korea, being a key cryptocurrency market regulator in the Asia-Pacific region, has historically mirrored its crypto regulatory framework closely with that of the U.S. This alignment has been evident in measures such as restricting credit card use for crypto purchases and banning crypto mixing services.


As South Korea navigates the evolving landscape of cryptocurrency regulations, the FSS’s engagement with the SEC reflects a proactive approach in understanding and potentially adopting global best practices. The dialogue with the SEC is anticipated to provide valuable insights that could influence South Korea’s regulatory stance on spot Bitcoin ETFs and contribute to the harmonization of international cryptocurrency regulations.

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