Massive Bitcoin Seizure Following Supreme Court Ruling Linked to Child Pornography

Child Pornography website closed, with 191 Bitcoins recovered, worth $1.4M, and the perpetrator jailed.

Ramy Caspi
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The South Korean government, authorized by the Supreme Court, will confiscate 191 Bitcoins seized in a child-pornography cybercrime. The perpetrator has been jailed and ordered to pay a fine of $640,000. In a ruling on Wednesday, Yonhap  reported that the Supreme Court has ruled cryptocurrencies should be treated as "personal property" with value that can be subject to forfeiture in criminal cases.

In May 2014, the 33-year-old criminal was charged for the crime of disseminating and profiteering from child pornography activities. At the time his "tokens" along with other assets were seized.

A lower court refused the prosecutors' request for forfeiting the cyber assets stating that “they exist electronically and has no physical form.” However, the Supreme Court ruled and stated that cryptocurencies can be termed as a "profit earned from trade in goods,” and therefore the state can seize the coins.

The decision by the Supreme Court marks a notable legal reference. Since South Korea is one of the world's most active cryptocurrency nation and the state has multiple ongoing criminal cases involving cryptocurrencies.