South Korea’s presidential office has reacted defensively to a petition calling for the chief of the country’s main finance sector regulator to step down over comments he made about cryptocurrencies.

Fast facts:

  • Financial Services Commission chair Eun Sung-soo addressed the National Policy Committee on April 22, saying that young Koreans were “heading in the wrong direction” by investing in crypto, and that they needed guidance. He also described cryptocurrency trading as a highly speculative activity involving no intrinsic value.
  • The following day, a member of the public filed a petition calling for the FSC chief to resign, accusing him of being unaware of the difficulties faced by the younger generation, and lambasting the government for being unprepared for the innovations of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
  • In its response yesterday, two months after the petition was filed under the national petition system, the presidential office did not address its call for the FSC chief’s head, but instead emphasized that the government had been making efforts to regulate virtual assets and protect investors by means such as requiring exchanges to sign bank contracts for real-name customer accounts.
  • Also yesterday, Eun answered crypto-related questions at the national assembly. When asked about his remarks in April, he said he had been seeking to warn people ahead of a Sept. 24 compliance deadline for exchanges that many exchange operators would be unable to meet compliance standards and would therefore have to shut down, causing the value of cryptocurrencies to slump.