Head of South Korea’s FSC Resigns Abruptly to “Widen the Scope” for New Cabinet Members

  • Chairman Choi Jong-ku left the Financial Services Commission in South Korea last week.
  • There are already multiple candidates that may fill his position.

South Korea has been rather strict in the way that they’ve navigated the cryptocurrency industry, but could that change soon? A new report from The Korea Times indicates that the chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in South Korea, Choi Jong-ku, has officially resigned from his position, as of last week. His departure comes only one day before he would’ve reached his second anniversary. One of Jong-ku’s major decisions, while he was the head of the FSC, was the ban of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in South Korea.

Speaking with reporters, the former chairman explained that his resignation “before the expected reshuffle” was made in an effort to “wide the scope” for the search by President Moon Jae-in for new cabinet members. Many of the people who previously held Jong-ku’s position have resigned around the same length of time with similar circumstances.

Right now, there are a few top candidates that may replace Jong-Ku, including:

  • Eun Sung-soo, the CEO that took over for Jong-Ku at the Export-Import Bank in 2017
  • Yoon Jong-won, who was formerly the Blue House secretary with Korea’s executive branch
  • Kim Yong-beom, who was previously the vice-chairman of the FSC

This is not a complete list of all of the candidates that are being considered for the new position.

Throughout Jong-ku’s time in this position, he was an integral part of dealing with conflicting cryptocurrency proposals from the regulators in the area. However, one issue that he came down strongly on was the increased activity in initial coin offerings in 2018. By March 2018, he publicly condemned ICOs as “irrational” through his efforts to work with the financial authorities in China and Japan to ban them.

He commented,

“[A] fever of speculative investment in cryptocurrencies is ongoing … however, cryptocurrencies are unable to play a role as a means of payment.”

Even with this stubborn stance on both cryptocurrencies and ICOs, Jong-Ku chose to implement legislation that was more favorable for blockchain business. Furthermore, when the Ministry of Justice was considering the shut down of domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in the area, Jong-Ku brought up stricter KYC requirements that made it possible to keep them in operation.

During his tenure, Jong-Ku also decided to grant access to customer data by financial technology and blockchain firms. He also made it possible for consumers to use mobile apps to transact their cryptocurrency.

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