Police in South Korea Are Investigating the Death of a Bitcoin Policy Coordinator

February 20, 2018, 9:20 AM UTC

South Korea’s authorities have in recent months been very down on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies—at time causing big sell-offs with their threats of banning exchanges. Now, the man who played a key role in coordinating the crackdown has been found dead.

Jung Ki-joon, the head of economic policy at South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination, was found dead at home at the age of 52 on Sunday, with investigators initially suspecting a heart attack as the cause of death.

“He died from some unknown cause. He passed away while he was sleeping and [his] heart [had] already stopped beating when he was found dead,” said a government spokesman, quoted by The Wall Street Journal.

The state news agency Yonhap reported that Jung had been under immense pressure since late last year, when he was put in charge of coordinating the opinions of various ministries on the regulation of cryptocurrencies.

South Korea’s government earlier this month indicated that it had changed its mind about banning cryptocurrency exchanges, and was instead considering a new framework for licensing such services. Like other countries such as Japan, South Korea is keen to protect citizens from the negative effects of speculation in the volatile markets for bitcoin and other virtual coins.

Police in South Korea are investigating further the cause of death, according to Yonhap.