The death of Jung Ki-Joon who was the head of economic policy at the Office for Government Policy Coordination has hit the country with a shock. Police are now investigating the death which is believed to murder because Jung was mainly involved in developing rules for regulating cryptocurrency which is largely unregulated. The South Korean government has been working hard to manage the fast-growing market in the country.
He was also in charge of coordinating weekly meetings mainly to discuss regulation of cryptocurrency transactions which started in November 2017. He was found dead in his home, and some of his colleagues said that he was under heavy stress since taking over the job late last year.
South Korea is one of the biggest markets for Bitcoin in the world. More to that the country has 30 exchanges which saw 87.5 times more income than 2016. The South Korean market is very active, and the Bitcoin prices trade higher than anywhere in the world. The country’s currency is also the fourth most popular currency for exchanging Bitcoin after the U.S. Dollar, Japanese yen, and the Euro. It was estimated that about 5% all cryptocurrencies in 2017 were exchanges using Won.
Before his sudden death, Ki-Joon had earlier said in a briefing that digital currencies were not legal and therefore the government would be tough to respond to speculation of the currencies and any illegal activities.
The country, however, continues to look for ways to regulate the fast-growing market. Kim Dong-yeon who is the country’s finance minister said in January that there was no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrencies. The country has however moved forward to ban all anonymous exchanges which were seen as a way to undermine the reason many people use cryptocurrency to protect their identity.
South Korea is now considering Bitcoin licensing scheme for all the exchanges. One government official was quoted saying that: “We are considering an exchange approval method which will be better in our efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies.”