The curiuos case of child porn and recognition of Bitcoins in South Korea

After the Silk Road crisis bitcoin is normally associated with drugs, sex and a conduit for black money. But the recent ruling of the supreme court of SouthKorea has led to the recognigtion of bitcoin as a suitable store of value due to the dilemma faced by the court in the child abuse case.

Ironically the story starts around Decemeber 2013 that is exactly after 2 months when Ross Ulbricht (of the Silk road fame) was arrested.In September 2017 the Suwon district court charged 33 year old Ahn for the sale and distribution of child pornography through a website. Ahn was operating this website since December 2013 and was arrested on May 2017 for disseminating 235,000 obscene files. Ahn earned around $6,54,000 in cash and 191 in bitcoins for providing his service.The lower court confiscated all the cash,gave 18 months of imprisonment but left the Bitcoins. According to the court:

“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.”

i.e. Bitcoin did not have any tangible value.The verdict was appealed at the higher court and fortunately the Suwon district court vrdict ws reversed.The court mentioned that “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.”

The authorities were able to track 191 bitcoins through the bitcoin ledger and thus the argument that bitcoin can be used anonymously in black market gets negated in public.

According to Bitcoin Magazine the ruling is decisive as it gives digital assets like bitcoin enhanced legitimacy at a time when South Korea is also in the process of legalizing and regulating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). After effecting a domestic ban on ICOs in September of last year, the South Korean government has approached the cryptocurrency industry with ambivalent resolve.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s