South Korea has been a leading market for bitcoin over the last year or so in terms of adoption, trading volumes, and regulatory response. Now one of the top figures in the government associated with regulating cryptocurrency has passed away, with stress suspected to be a contributing cause.
South Korean Cryptocurrency Regulator
Jung Ki-joon, Head of the Economic Policy Coordination Office for the South Korean Government, has been found dead in his apartment in Seoul on Sunday morning. According to local reports he most likely passed away on Saturday night before his body was found by his family in the morning.
The official’s death is considered to be a shocking development in Korea as the man was only 52 years old and wasn’t known to be suffering from any life-threatening illnesses. Korean police forces have reportedly begun an investigation into the matter but the exact cause of his death cannot be confirmed until the police get a report from the coroner’s office.
Yonhap News illustration.
Too Much Stress to Blame?
South Korea became obsessed with all things crypto in 2017 and the local government saw it as its responsibility to protect citizens from the riskier aspects of the rapidly evolving ecosystem, from anonymous trading on exchanges to participating in ICOs and more. For a long while the country and its regulatory efforts dominated headlines in both cryptocurrency forums and mainstream financial media as it was widely speculated to be one of the leading factors in driving the price of bitcoin.
Back in late November of last year, the South Korean government decided on a regular meeting schedule of vice ministers, led by Hong Nam-ki, the minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, to discuss how to further regulate cryptocurrency transactions. Jung Ki-joon was in charge of coordinating the opinions of the different ministries and offices involved to prepare for the weekly meetings of Hong and relevant vice ministers. The late official is presumed to have suffered a heart attack in his sleep according to local media, and his colleagues are quoted as saying he had been under “heavy stress” since taking charge of these efforts.
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