South Korean news agencies are reporting that government official Jung Ki-joon was found dead in his home on Sunday, February 18.
Typically, as a crypto blog, we don’t cover news about the deaths of South Korean government employees. However, this is a big deal to the cryptocurrency community. Junk Ki-joon was head of economic policy coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination. He was in charge of building cryptocurrency-related policy for South Korea.
Jung, 52, is suspected to have suffered a heart attack while sleeping, according to police. However, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that June died “from some unknown cause.”
Meanwhile, Jung’s colleagues have raised the possibility that the official died from stress. Jung was experiencing increased stress and pressure related to his crypto policy building activities.
Korean news agency Yonhap reported that Jung was found dead in his home in Seoul on Sunday.
South Korea made headlines back in January for exploring a countrywide ban of cryptocurrencies. In late January 2018, the country banned anonymous cryptocurrency trading accounts. However, officials stepped back from plans to ban cryptocurrency trading entirely. They also have no plans to shut down legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.
This past week, Yonhap reported the Choe Heung-sik, governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service, said in a meeting with representatives of cryptocurrency exchanges that the government plans to support crypto trading as long as “normal transactions” are made.
Ultimately, there has been limited information released so far about the death of Jung Ki-joon, the 52-year old South Korean official at the Office for Government Policy Coordination. Jung’s work involved developing rules for regulating cryptocurrency in a largely unregulated, fast-growing market. His colleagues reported that Jung had been “under heavy stress” since taking the job late last year.
South Korea continues to grapple with cryptocurrency regulations. Ever since China banned forms of cryptocurrency trading in September 2018, South Korea has been Asia’s largest crypto trading marketplace. Its regulatory decisions – and the deaths of regulatory officials – have a lasting impact on the crypto marketplace.