Beginning May 8, Yoon Suk-heun will take up the mantle of responsibility as South Korea's top financial regulator when he assumes the governorship of the country's Financial Supervisory Service (FSS).
Shortly after President Moon Jae-in approved Yoon's nomination, which had been submitted by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), Yoon responded to reporters' questions on one of Korea's favorite topics: cryptocurrency. According to The Korea Times, the new governor said that the organization "will consider relaxing cryptocurrency regulations."
"Regarding cryptocurrencies, there are some positive aspects," stated Yoon. "The FSS will collaborate with the FSC when an inspection on policies and financial institutions has different configurations associated with different scopes. FSC inspects policies, while the FSS examines and supervises financial institutions but with the oversight of the FSC."
Yoon's cool and steady commentary comes at a time when Korean FSS leadership has come under scrutiny. He is stepping into a role that has seen three acting governors since early March. One preceding FSS head, Choi Heung-sik, was forced to step down only six months into taking office, after allegations arose that he was involved in an illicit hiring scandal at Hana Bank.
Choe denied wrongdoing but, regardless, submitted his resignation on March 12, leaving senior deputy Yoo Kwang-yeol as interim head of the FSS, a position Yoo held until the presidential Blue House appointed Kim Ki-sik to the office in early April.
Unfortunately for Kim, it soon emerged that at least some of the travel related to three overseas trips paid for with government funds was recreational in nature, sealing his fate at the FSS and bringing unwanted publicity to the Blue House.
Formerly a professor at Seoul National University, new FSS governor Yoon is being looked to as a stabilizing figure and brings what local media calls an "activist and reformist" personality to the FSS, which supervises financial institutions inside South Korea.
During the same interview with reporters, Yoon stressed how better regulation "would produce" more stable financial systems.
Yoon declined to elaborate any further when reporters pressed him about forthcoming regulatory considerations the FSS is contemplating for cryptocurrency exchanges. "There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed," said Yoon. "We can figure them out gradually."
While the cryptocurrency ecosystem continues to grapple with how to stabilize cryptocurrency markets, perhaps the best hope for price stability isn't a "stablecoin" but, rather, stable regulators.