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Anti-ICO Chairman of South Korea's FSC Suddenly Resigns

29 Jul 2019

Anti-ICO Chairman of South Korea's FSC Suddenly Resigns Just Before the Governmental Reorganization

Recent reports from South Korea had seen the head of the country's FSC (Financial Services Commission) give a sudden resignation last week. According to local media outlets, Choi Jong-ku, now the former chairman, simply left his office only a day before his second anniversary. His reason, however, appears to be the pending governmental reorganization.

When asked for his motives, the former chairman stated that he resigned to avoid the 'expected reshuffle' of President Moon Jae-in. Traditionally, the so-called 'reshuffle' is supposed to locate new cabinet members, which is something that Choi Jong-ku wanted to avoid. He is not the only one, either, as many of his predecessors also resigned under rather similar conditions.

For now, the position of chairman remains vacant, and there are several potential candidates that are likely to fill it in the days to come. One is the CEO of Korea's Export-Import Bank, Eun Sung-soo. Eun also replaced Choi back in 2017, when he left the position of the CEO. It is possible that he will do the same once more.

There is also the former Blue House secretary, Yoon Jong-won, as well as the former FSC vice chairman, Kim Yong-beom. There are other candidates apart from these three, although they are considered to be the most likely replacements.

Choi Jong-ku’s impact on crypto and blockchain

During his two years at the position, Choi played a major part in the cryptocurrency sector, often having to deal with different, conflicting proposals. These proposals were issued by different financial regulators, all of which tried to bring forth their own vision of the crypto sector. However, Choi's biggest move was the ICO crackdown in March 2018. Back then, he openly stated that speculative investments are 'irrational.' He also collaborated with the financial authorities of Japan and even China, moving towards the ICO ban.

He claimed that cryptocurrencies are unable to play a role as a means of payment, despite the fever of 'speculative investment,' as he called it. However, despite his skepticism regarding cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings, Choi did see potential in the blockchain technology.

He even made some considerable moves towards regulating it, with a few legislations, favorable towards medium-sized and small blockchain-based businesses. He also managed to protect cryptocurrency exchanges when the Ministry of Justice wanted to shut them down. Instead of closing these businesses entirely, Choi believed it better to simply introduce stricter KYC requirements.

That way, the dangers would be eliminated, while the exchanges would be allowed to continue operating. Even that is not the full extent of the actions that led to changing and improving the sector. He also allowed blockchain firms and financial technology itself the right to access customer data, while the consumers were enabled to transact via mobile apps.

Despite the fact that he ended his term one year earlier than it was due, Choi generally left a positive mark, at least when it comes to blockchain technology. It remains to be seen whether or not his successor will continue where he left off, or potentially take a different road.

Author: Ali Raza for


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