The South Korean National Pension Fund has been indirectly investing billions of won in cryptocurrency exchanges. The exchanges include Korbit, Upbit, Coinplug, and Bithumb.
According to local news outlets, in total, the pension fund has invested 2.6 billion won in four cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the Korean peninsula. News1 quoted Lee Chan-yeol, an NPS officer: “The National Pension Fund invested 2.6 billion won in four cryptocurrency exchanges through two venture capital funds.”
The South Korean National Pension Service (NPS) is the third largest pension fund in the world, and as of October, the estimated value of the fund was around 618 trillion won.
According to the South Korean news agency Newsis, the NPS has invested in cryptocurrency exchanges in two funds. The first fund invested only in the two cryptocurrency exchanges – Coinplug and Upbit. The second one invested in the other two operators – Bithumb and Korbit.
This news is very crucial because of the South Korean government’s recent stance on cryptocurrency. Last week, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance issued a notice: “The investment amount of 41.2 billion won ($38.7 million) is the total amount invested by the 16 venture investment firms in the virtual currency market.”
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There are approximately 700 funds registered in South Korea, but only 28 of these funds invest in cryptocurrencies, according to the local news outlet Yonhap. 16 venture capitals operate these 28 funds.
“It is inappropriate for the 16 investment ventures to invest in the 28 venture funds,” the notice added.
One NPS officer also stated that the NPS has no control over the investment decisions of the funds, as they are exclusively limited to the fund managers. Apart from NPS, many other institutions also invested in the same funds.
After Japan and the US, South Korea is the third largest market for cryptocurrencies. In 2017, South Korean society witnessed much enthusiasm for cryptocurrency investments, and this ultimately attracted the attention of the authorities, as a huge amount of capital was flowing from the regulated markets to the unregulated one.
For a while, the authorities were also considering a complete ban of cryptocurrency trading with its borders, but later retracted this suggestion as it would have had huge implications on the entire market, and ultimately the investors.