Fifty-two-year-old Jung Ki-joon reportedly died of a heart attack, however, police had opened an investigation into the cause of death. 


In brief:

On Sunday, Jung Ki-joon, head of economic policy coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, was found dead at his residence.

According to South Korean news agency Yonhap, Jung Ki-joon, head of economic policy coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, was found dead at his home on Sunday.

Fifty-two-year-old Jung Ki-joon reportedly died of a heart attack, however, police had opened an investigation into the cause of death. The official had been under excessive stress since assignment to the position at the end of last year to combat speculation and illegal activity in cryptocurrency trading, according to his colleagues.

A South Korean government spokesperson cited in The Wall Street Journal, said,

“He died from some unknown cause. He passed away while he was sleeping and his heart had already stopped beating when he was found dead.”

Jung Ki-joon earlier in January stated that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not accepted as legal currency and that the government would “strongly respond to excessive cryptocurrency speculation and illegal activity.” The South Korean government official who led regulatory efforts to implement strict controls on cryptocurrency trading was involved in Seoul’s regulatory crackdown on digital currencies.

South Korea is one of the world’s most important regions for trading in digital currencies, where around one-fifth of global trading takes place. The South Korean Won is among the top physical currencies for bitcoin trading, only behind the Dollar, Yen, and Euro.

With increasing instances of theft and money laundering, governments all around the globe have already started considering regulating the cryptocurrency market. The comments from South Korean officials regarding tightening their grip on cryptocurrency trading came at the time when the price of bitcoin declined last month.

South Korea was once a global hub for bitcoin trading and among the catalysts for the bull run in the BTC price in 2017. This resulted in Prime Minister of the country Lee Nak-yeon raising his concerns that this heightened demand for cryptocurrencies may “lead to some serious distorted or pathological phenomenon if left unaddressed.”

However, amid the speculation that the government would ban cryptocurrency exchanges, the South Korean financial regulator the Financial Supervisory Service has confirmed that a ban is unlikely and the country would consider on know-your-customer (KYC) transparency.


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