South Korea’s Supreme Court has recently confiscated 191 Bitcoins from a man who operated on a pornographic site, therefore, recognizing cryptocurrencies as assets, reports South China Morning Post.
This is the first time cryptocurrencies have been confiscated in the country. The court has seized 191 Bitcoins worth approximately $2.3 million, which the man, called Ahn, earned on pornographic sites.
“The cryptocurrency is recognized to have value so it can be confiscated,” the Supreme Court stated.
The decision factually overturns the previous ruling by a lower court which discarded the prosecutor’s attempt to confiscate 216 Bitcoins that they believed Ahn had, “stating Bitcoins only existed electronically and had no physical form.”
The court posited that “The bitcoins were earned from the proceeds of crime. If we return the bitcoins to Ahn, it will be giving him back profits that were earned illegally from running an online porn site.”
“The Supreme Court upheld this ruling and thus will allow any cyber assets gained from illegal activity such as gambling, drug deals, pornography and prostitution to be confiscated,” writes South China Morning Post.
The newspaper also says that this not the first time Ahn breaks law. Previously he had been involved in less than flattering affairs, including violating the Protection of Children and Juveniles from Sexual Abuse Law and had faced 18 months in prison and a fine worth 696 million won ($646,375 ).
“From 2013, Ahn distributed 235,000 obscene pictures online and made 1.9 billion won (US$1.7 million),” writes the newspaper.
This is not the first time authorities confiscate Bitcoin. At the beginning of May, London Metropolitan Police arrested Grant West, a hacker who managed to make a tangible crypto profit. “The 25-year-old was the first cybercriminal taken into custody and had his Bitcoin currency, worth about $700,000, seized by London Metropolitan Police,” writes USA today.
Likewise, the federal state of Bavaria has managed to sell off seized cryptocurrency worth $13.9 mln over the course of two months in 1,600 individual transactions.
Besides, South Korea, which banned all ICOs in September, is rumored to be considering an alternative approach as the National Assembly officially proposes legalization of domestic ICOs.