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South Korea's Top Cryptocurrency Official Found Dead

February 20, 2018

Jung Ki-joon, who headed Seoul’s recent regulatory clampdown on cryptocurrencies, was found dead at his home on Sunday. According to a report from South Korean news agency Yonhap, police said that it appeared that Jung had suffered a heart attack while sleeping, but that an investigation had been opened and that a final determination of cause of death will come from the coroner's office. The Yonhap news agency said that Jung's colleagues, upon hearing of his death, noted that he had been under heavy stress in recent months and raised the possibility that he died from stress related to his crypto-regulatory duties. Jung Ki-joon was 52-year-old.

 

Jung was the head the Office for Government Policy Coordination. He was the face of South Korea's impending regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrency trading following a manic rally in 2017. In January he stated that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “are not legal currency” and that the South Korean government would “strongly respond to excessive cryptocurrency speculation and illegal activity.”

 

High demand often causes cryptocurrencies to trade at higher prices on South Korean exchanges than at other major global exchanges. Bitcoin often surges 40% higher in South Korea than in other countries, a phenomenon is known as the “kimchi premium.”

 

South Korea accounts for 20% of the world’s cryptocurrency trading activity. The South Korean won is the fourth most widely used fiat currency in bitcoin trading after the U.S. dollar, the Japanese yen, and the euro. Regulatory and other developments out of South Korea often move cryptocurrency markets around the world. Cryptocurrency investor enthusiasm in South Korea was one of the reasons prices soared so high worldwide in 2017.

 

Before his death, Jung had coordinated legislation aimed at tamping down on cryptocurrency speculation and identifying and prosecuting cryptocurrency scams. New regulations only allow cryptocurrency purchases from established-name bank accounts that meet KYC AML (know your customer, anti-money laundering) oversight requirements.

 

By: BGN Editorial Staff

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