South Korea Redefines NFT Regulations, Treats Mass-Issued Tokens as Virtual Assets

  • The South Korean financial regulator has recently redefined the classification of NFTs, stipulating that those with mass issuance or divisibility fall under the category of virtual assets.
  • Businesses dealing with these types of NFTs will now have to register as virtual asset operators to comply with new regulatory requirements.
  • Additionally, NFTs utilized for payments or that can be exchanged for other virtual assets are subject to heightened regulatory oversight.

South Korea introduces new regulatory guidelines to govern NFTs, ensuring clarity and compliance within the burgeoning digital asset market.

New Guidelines under the Virtual Asset User Protection Act

The recently issued guidelines under South Korea’s “Virtual Asset User Protection Act” bring significant changes to the NFT market. Set to take effect on July 19, 2024, the act aims to carve a definitive framework by which NFT classifications and regulations will be governed. This initiative seeks to bridge the regulatory gap that had previously excluded NFTs from virtual asset scrutiny.

Criteria for NFT Classification

Previously, NFTs were broadly exempt from being classified as virtual assets. However, new guidelines now specify that NFTs exhibiting mass issuance, divisibility, or utilization as a payment method will be recognized as virtual assets. This new classification aims to increase transparency and reduce the risks associated with unregulated NFT transactions.

Key Points and Compliance

The guidelines highlight several pivotal points. NFTs created for “content collection purposes” are generally exempt from these virtual asset regulations. However, each NFT will first be scrutinized to determine if it qualifies as a security under the Capital Markets Act, in which case, securities regulations would take precedence.

NFTs with Specific Attributes

NFTs meeting specific criteria, such as those issued in large numbers or ones that can be divided into smaller, fungible units, are treated as virtual assets. The regulator emphasizes that NFTs’ uniqueness is compromised when these conditions are met.

Commercial Use and Exchange

NFTs used directly or indirectly for payments, goods, or services—or those that can be exchanged for other virtual assets—are also classified as virtual assets. However, an exact threshold for what constitutes “large quantities” is not defined, presumably to close potential loopholes and prevent evasion of regulatory oversight.

Business Responsibilities and Registration

Companies engaged in the creation, distribution, or handling of such NFTs should meticulously review these guidelines. Compliance necessitates registration as a virtual asset business operator under the “Specific Financial Information Act,” covering activities ranging from sale and exchange to storage and management. Non-compliance carries severe penalties, including criminal charges.

Consultation and Future Directions

For businesses unclear about the regulatory status of their NFTs, the Financial Services Commission offers consultations and plans to provide detailed examples to guide compliance efforts. These initiatives are designed to prevent the exploitation of NFTs as a regulatory grey area while safeguarding legitimate NFT projects focused on content collection.


In conclusion, the introduction of these new guidelines by South Korea signifies a pivotal shift in the NFT landscape, aimed at ensuring regulatory clarity and compliance. Businesses venturing into the NFT market must now navigate a well-defined regulatory framework, thereby fostering a more secure and transparent marketplace.

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Jocelyn Blake
Jocelyn Blake
Jocelyn Blake is a 29-year-old writer with a particular interest in NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). With a love for exploring the latest trends in the cryptocurrency space, Jocelyn provides valuable insights on the world of NFTs.

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