[LOS ANGELES] Andrew Lee, CEO of Private Internet Access has been named the successor of King Yi Seok, the only remaining heir to the Joseon dynasty throne in Korea. Yi Seok, 77 is the nephew of King Sunjong, Korea’s last monarch, and the son of Yi Kang, the fifth son of King Gojong, the 26th Joseon king. His Imperial Highness King Yi Seok, the only remaining heir living in Korea to the Joseon dynasty throne which ruled over the country for five centuries, named Crown Prince Andrew Lee as his successor on Oct. 6 during a Passing of the Sword ceremony inside Crustacean Beverly Hills, California. An Imperial Family Crowning Ceremony in Jeonju, South Korea, the ancestral home of the Lee royal family, will follow next year.
The Joseon dynasty, founded in 1392, was known as the Hermit Kingdom for its isolationist policies during its long reign. Notable inventions under its rule include the Korean alphabet Hangul, by King Sejong; the Jobo, the first newspaper in the world; and military weapons, including the bulletproof vest, the time bomb and armored warships.
Lee, now crowned Prince of Korea, is a multi-faceted business leader and advocate for digital privacy and he built his business empire on the concept of privacy. As the founder of Private Internet Access, he will use the platform as a way to communicate in South Korea while also creating more tech-focused educational programs in the country.
Prior to being crowned, Lee was at the forefront of the crypto space, with technological insight to blockchain from early in Bitcoin’s development phase.
The following is an interview with Andrew Lee
Tell us your background and how/why you started Private Internet Access
I was always interested in computers from the moment my father put me in front of a keyboard when I was
a kid. Early on, I didn't really know how to use a computer but I was able to meet people on IRC who
helped guide me in the right directions and taught me how to code and about important topics like
organizational governance, training processes and so forth. It was amazing to see people from different
countries from all over the world communicating with each other through a computer. That ability to
communicate electronically and through code is something that has never left me.
As I got older and started talking to more people, I noticed that most people didn't understand how the
internet was architected, how easily they could be tracked online, and what the consequence of all this was.
I realized people needed to be protected -- not to completely hide themselves, but instead, to be able to
protect themselves. That's when Private Internet Access was born.
What is your new role as Prince of Korea. What will you be doing for the people of Korea? What
does this role mean to you?
The Prince of Korea is the crown of the Imperial Family of Korea. As the Prince of Korea, I will be focusing
on cultural, humanitarian, symbolic and educational programs to help empower the Great Korean People.
To me, the role is important because I have always had a dream to be a symbol of hope. Today, I have the
chance. I want to be able to help all people achieve their dreams no matter what it is. More importantly,
the crown serves the people; it is a tremendous opportunity to understand different perspectives and work
towards bringing people and communities together and helping everyone to achieve new heights.
How will your business promote change for Korea?
The Great King Sejong never wished for the Great Korean People to have restricted access to the Internet.
In fact, he wanted to empower people with knowledge. Private Internet Access does this -- it gives
customers full, uncensored access to the internet. It allows the Great Korean People to play with a full deck
How do you plan on jumpstarting small and medium sized businesses in Korea?
The Imperial Family of Korea plans on launching an Imperial Fund which will invest in small businesses in
Korea. The goal is to start from the idea phase and get businesses to prototypes. The family intends to
educate the Great Korean People with web and software development as well as provide the funding
through the fund.
That said, we'll simply provide the tools to empower anyone who is willing to use them. The Great Korean
People already bring more than enough raw talent into the equation. The tools give new startups that extra
push to help founders to work full time on their businesses, as opposed to being side projects forever.
With these tools and a combination of dedication, entrepreneurial mindset and work ethic, we hope to
elevate and inspire people to innovate and expand on new ideas and technologies.
Please explain about your work in the crypto space – will this have any effect on your role as Prince?
I'm a big believer in blockchain projects. I was involved in Bitcoin from the beginning. I've had businesses
acquired in the space. I love many blockchain utilizing projects, but specifically, I have a heavy interest in
projects that make absolute sense and can be executed quickly to bring improvement within its niche.
The Imperial Fund fully intends to invest heavily in blockchain and other peer to peer leveraging projects.
Everything that I am about and have surrounded myself with is about bringing power to the people -- and
that's what these technologies do. Fundamentally, we are aligned with blockchain at the core and are bullish
about its future.