A local court in South Korea has ruled that Bitcoin cannot be confiscated, an important decision given the popularity of the cryptocurrency in the country.

Local police seized 216 Bitcoins following an arrest of an alleged criminal, but the local court determined it was an illegitimate confiscation. The Suwon District Court ruled that Bitcoin is not subject to confiscation, according to local sources.

The individual, who was charged for running an illegal pornography site, is believed to have asked for membership fees in Bitcoin. The charges were filed nonetheless, despite having ruled confiscation of Bitcoin out of the sentence, as it is “not appropriate to confiscate Bitcoins as they cannot assume an objective standard value.”

The ruling claims that electronic money has no physical representation, so even if Bitcoins were to be seized as criminal profits, the value calculation of these assets would prove difficult. The decision is expected to face opposition.

It is believed that the instability of the region caused by North Korean hostilities has prompted people to invest in more stable forms of currency long-term, such as Bitcoin. Japan has experienced a similar journey, particularly since the legalization of Bitcoin payments.

South Korean trading platforms like Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit are holding large trading volumes of cryptocurrency, but regulators worry as Bitcoin seems to attract criminal activity too.


The country’s Financial Supervisory Commission has announced a joint task force meeting to address cryptocurrencies, which will  include the Korean Fair Trade Commission and National Tax Service. Regulating and monitoring crypto will be the main agenda of this meeting.

Additionally, it has been announced that there will be more monitoring of overseas remittance service providers who rely on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to make their services more appealing to the masses, although the details of this oncoming regulation are unclear.

Domestic trading is also in line to be regulated. A revision of the Act on Reporting and Use of Certain Financial Transaction Information will address crypto trading. The changes in regulation will entail that cryptocurrency ICOs looking to raise funds in the form of stock issuance may find it difficult as doing so is an effective violation of the country’s Capital Market Act.

by Henry Vilar
Henry is Junior Reporter at IBS Intelligence, follow him on Twitter or contact him at: henryv@ibsintelligence.com