Chris Ratcliffe—Bloomberg/Getty Images
By Andrew Nusca
February 20, 2018

Good morning. Fortune digital editor Andrew Nusca here, filling in for Adam.

While much of the world froths over ill-advised comments made by a Facebook ad exec on Friday in response to Russian agents’ use of the service—read more about that in today’s edition of CEO Daily, Fortune’s leadership-minded newsletter—I’d like to draw your attention to a far less intriguing place: South Korea.

No, no, I don’t mean the winter Olympic Games. (Though I’m just as amused by the doping narrative emerging from the curling competition. Curling!) I mean the headlines stating that a prominent cryptocurrency regulator in that country was found dead on Sunday at age 52—rather young in a country where average life expectancy is 82 years.

The official line is “unknown causes,” and there’s no reason to suggest foul play. But a report by the news agency Yonhap suggests that Jung Ki-joon, head of economic policy at the Office for Government Policy Coordination, died of a heart attack. The report notes that Jung was believed to be under heavy stress as Seoul clamped down on spiraling cryptocurrency speculation. (The government threatened to shut down South Korea’s Bitcoin exchanges as prices skyrocketed more than 50% higher than in other countries. Some investors, naturally, were opposed.) The report also notes that Jung was involved in curbing illicit activity around virtual currencies.

Correlation is not causation, of course, and it will be difficult to prove that cryptocurrency killed the cat. But the story’s prominence in several news outlets shows that virtual currencies continue to captivate us despite our skepticism. The remote possibility of a cryptocurrency killing? Why, that’s too delicious to let up.

But don’t take it from me. I’m just speculating.


Andrew Nusca


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