Report states that a South Korean cryptocurrency official found dead

South Korea is among world's busiest nations for trading in digital currencies, accounting for some 20% of activity

Mike Richardson
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A 52-year-old South Korean official who helped spearhead that country’s regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies was found dead in his home on Sunday, according to local media and the The Wall Street Journal.

  • Jung Ki-joon, head of economic policy coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, was found dead at his home on Sunday
  • His colleagues also raised the possibility that stress — following increased pressure from crypto-related duties — led to Jung's death, the South Korean news agency reported.

A South Korean government official who helped regulatory efforts to limit cryptocurrency speculation has died, according to multiple reports.

Semiofficial state news agency Yonhap said that JunJung Ki-joon, head of economic policy coordination at the Office for Government Policy Coordination was presumed to have suffered a heart attack and police had opened an investigation into the cause of death. Jung’s colleagues said he had been under heavy stress in recent months, Yonhap reported.

Police presumed Jung suffered a heart attack while sleeping and were awaiting details from the coroner's office, Yonhap said. A government spokesman later said in a The Wall Street Journal report that Jung, 52, "died from some unknown cause."

His colleagues also raised the possibility that stress — following increased pressure from crypto-related duties — led to Jung's death, Yonhap reported. Jung was in charge of coordinating the opinions of various South Korean ministries and offices in preparation for weekly meetings led by Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, the news agency said.

South Korea began stepping up its scrutiny of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies late last year and enacted a ban in late January on anonymous trading accounts. However, officials have dialed back comments that they might shut down cryptocurrency exchanges, where high demand often causes the cryptocurrencies to trade at higher prices than at other major global exchanges.

On Tuesday, Yonhap reported that Choe Heung-sik, governor of South Korea's Financial Supervisory Service, said in a meeting with representatives of cryptocurrency exchanges that the government will support cryptocurrency trading if "normal transactions" are made.


Jung Ki-joon in Seoul on Jan. 15. He was involved in the South Korean government’s efforts to regulate cryptocurrency trading. PHOTO: YONHAP NEWS/ZUMA PRESS