Taipei, Taiwan –Officials in Taiwan still feel undecided with cryptocurrency. Regulators neither support nor oppose the use of cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, for investment or commerce. This is now expected to change as Cheng Yi-ting, CEO of local cryptocurrency exchange OTCBTC, has announced plans to run for mayor of Taipei this year.
Cheng declared on April 13 she would be running in the election scheduled for November this year. She will be running against the independent incumbent of four years as well as candidates from Taiwan’s major political parties. Cheng is running party-less and promises to help accelerate the country’s cryptocurrency industry.
What will happen if she gets elected?
A Chance for A Precedent
Cheng’s rise to the city’s highest office may be a record first for a digital currency exchange owner, according to Lance Morginn, CEO of Blockchain Intelligence Group, a digital currency tracking firm. Cheng’s victory would be exciting news to the fintech sector, he added.
“If a crypto exchange owner were elected, the policies that exchanges would be required to meet could be relaxed or tightened to favor their business objectives, depending on both the leader’s moral values and the checks and balances within the particular political structure,” Morginn says.
As for Cheng, she says she wants stronger cryptocurrency trade in Taipei that would help create jobs and bring in foreign capital. If elected, Cheng said she would open a “special area” for the finance sector and start a corresponding education program.
“I think Taiwan has an extremely good chance of becoming a major digital currency nation,” says Cheng. Cheng, 35, was a former high-tech education professional who managed OTCBTC for about a year. The exchange has over 30,000 clients and announced a recent daily trading volume equivalent to $15.8 million. For Cheng, Business is booming.
“I think I can draw off my cryptocurrency expertise and tech background to connect the city,” Cheng says. “I’ve found that Taiwan’s politicians and candidates, when it comes to business and technology, are all disconnected,” she added.
While the idea of a pro-crypto mayor in Taiwan sounds interesting, the work that comes with the title wouldn’t be so easy, nor will the campaign trail to reach it be.
Some voters are open to the idea of doing more business with cryptocurrency, but they also tend to look for candidates with a wide range of administrative abilities, according to a Taiwanese lawmaker who has been following the campaign.
Meanwhile, John Eastwood of Eiger Law in Taipei believes Cheng’s mayoral ambition for cryptocurrency would attract voters with early-adopter sentiments. “It might well send a positive signal to fintech and other startups that they’ve got a like-minded mayor in Taipei,” he said. However, he warns that “success as a mayor will also require adept handling of a wide range of very old-tech infrastructure that the city will not be changing any time soon”.
A dispute between Cheng and Li Xiaolai, a Chinese cryptocurrency investor, could also soil the campaign if news about it grows and word gets around. OTCBTC has a lot of clients from China, a political adversary of Taiwan for more than 70 years.