South Korea’s highest court orders the confiscation of Bitcoin and recognizes cryptocurrency as an asset

Photo by Oleksii Khodakivskiy on Unsplash

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Korea’s main court overturned the law to seize 191 bitcoins earned by providing child pornography, ending a protracted battle over the legal status of the cryptocurrency.

Against a September 2017 decision declaring such a seizure illegal, the Supreme Court seized $ 2.3 million worth of BTC from a 33-year-old family name named Ahn – the owner of a child pornography website.

Ahn and his bitcoin cache, convicted in September 2017, sparked months of debate. The prosecution failed to seize 216 BTC from Ahn in April 2018.

The Supreme Court sees things differently, however. Citing Korean law, the country’s highest court rejected the “untouchability” argument, stating:

“Korean law requires that a seizure hidden asset be cash, deposits, stocks, and other forms of tangible and intangible items with a standard value.”

The move marks the first expropriation of the cryptocurrency in the East Asian nation and underscores the recognition of the “measurable value” of the asset. The Supreme Court stated:

“Bitcoin is immaterial and comes in the form of digitized files. However, it is traded on an exchange and can be used to purchase goods. Obtaining bitcoins is therefore an act of profit-taking. “

Although the Supreme Court described the bitcoins as “proceeds from crime,” it did not order the removal of all of Anh’s holdings (191 out of 216 BTC) – after forensically determining the exact number of Bitcoin units paid for pornography.

South Korea wants to allow domestic ICOsRelated story: South Korea wants to allow domestic ICOs

Where the more anarchic cryptocurrency users see the verdict as a blow, many will invariably welcome legal clarity – the asset class distances itself from such nefarious uses.

Weeks after moving to allow domestic ICOs, South Korea could now position itself as a regulatory leader in a question mark-filled economy.

If only up close, the ruling can be viewed as a triumphant win for Bitcoin enthusiasts who have witnessed a legal declaration of the coin’s economic value.

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