Bitcoin is an asset: South Korean Supreme Court rules
Bitcoin is made legally recognizable asset by South Korea’s Supreme Court. The ruling was announced by one of the country’s lower courts on May 30, 2018.
The court referred to a case which was happened in September 2017 in Suwon District Court. The case is charged on a 33-year-old Ahn with the sale and distribution of child pornography. He was arrested in May 2017 for disseminating some 235,000 obscene files. The court proved him guilty and sentenced to 18 months in prison. The court could not seize the 216 bitcoins which Ahn accumulated in exchange for the porn because, unlike other assets, bitcoins are not solid.
“It is not appropriate to confiscate bitcoins because they are in the form of electronic files without physical entities, unlike cash,” the court ruled. “Virtual currency cannot assume an objective standard value.”
Analyzing the situation, the court reversed the decision and declared that bitcoins are digital assets which can be seized like any other assets.
“Korean law stipulates that a seizable hidden asset ranges from cash, deposits, stocks, and other forms of tangible and intangible objects holding standard value,” the ruling from this Tuesday reads. “Bitcoin is intangible and comes in the form of digitized files, but it is traded on an exchange and can be used to buy goods. Therefore, receiving bitcoins is an act of taking profits.”
Ahn received the bitcoins in return for the illicit activities that he did. The sentence will remain the same only if he forfeits 191 bitcoins, worth roughly $1.4 million at press time along with some $654,000 in cash.
The court tracked Ahn’s transaction on Bitcoin ledger and hence they were able to estimate the total number of bitcoins he received as a payment for the illicit activities.
“[Ahn] received bitcoins by giving a certain bitcoin address to pornography watchers online. Records stored on the Bitcoin blockchain proved that bitcoins sent to him should be seen as profits online,” the court ruling states.
The ruling is conclusive to various cryptocurrency issues in the country. It will facilitate digital assets like bitcoin and another cryptocurrency to gain more legitimacy. The country is also in the process of legalizing and regulating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
Image via Shutterstock
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