Supreme Court of Korea Acknowledges Bitcoin as Assets, 161 Bitcoin were Confiscated

May 30, South Korea’s national legislature has acknowledged that the digital currency is a kind of electronic file format without a physical entity, but it is still a valuable asset. Thus the Supreme Court of Korea has sentenced that the virtual currency obtained through criminal activities can be confiscated, according to Yonhap. This is the first case to confiscate digital currency as criminal assets throughout history of the Supreme Court of Korea.

The presiding judge of the Supreme Court sentenced that An, who suspected of operating illegal pornographic websites, was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison as he infringed child sexual abuse laws in South Korea. Suspect An was also fined 191 bitcoins (income from illegal pornographic websites) and 69,587 million won.

It was reported that An has engaged in the operation of the illegal pornographic website “AVSNOOP. club” science December 2013. During this process, he was suspected of illegally obtaining 1.9 billion won improper interest by collecting website usage fees. He was detained and prosecuted in May 2017.

From December 2013 until the beginning of last year, An’s illegal pornographic site “AVSNOOP.club” end up accumulated 1.2 million members. An also received 1.9 billion won (approximately $1.78 million USD) in membership fees. The Gyeonggi police confiscated 216 bitcoins from one of An’s digital wallets when he was arrested.

Of late, the court found that 191 out of the 216 bitcoins were traced to e-mail addresses of members of the pornographic websites. An is on charges of illegally operating website and the court finally decided to confiscate the 191 bitcoins.

The judge said: “Although bitcoin is an electronic file format without a physical entity, it can be traded in exchanges and be used to purchase materials and services. Therefore, it can be recognized as a ‘proceed’ which can be confiscated.”

Bitcoin can be exchanged for currency through exchanges in South Korea. It can be used as a means of circulation, so it should have economic value.

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