South Korean gov’t makes $10.5M profit from 4-year-old Bitcoin crime haul

The coins languished in cold storage for four years after being confiscated by authorities during an arrest.

South Korean prosecutors have finally sold a Bitcoin (BTC) haul they confiscated from a criminal in 2017 and it’s worth $10.5 million more than it was at the time of the arrest. The cash has reportedly been deposited in the coffers of the country’s national treasury.

According to reports coming out of the Suwon District Prosecutors Office, this is the first time confiscated Bitcoin has been sold by authorities, and the first time the coins in question have moved since being put into cold storage in 2017.

Originally worth $238,000 at the time of the confiscation, the coins were recently sold for a sum of $10.8 million, marking a 4,400% increase in value in four years. Based on that percentage growth, we can assume that Bitcoin was priced at around $1,300 when the arrest was made, close to April 2017.

With no specific cryptocurrency laws or regulations in place at the time, authorities left the coins in cold storage. In late March, the South Korean government enacted widespread crypto-specific laws for the first time, putting more pressure on exchanges and virtual asset service providers to use real-name trading accounts and to report their activities to Korea’s Financial Intelligence Unit. Prosecutors reportedly sold the coins as soon as the laws were put into place on March 25.

South Korea’s determination to regulate the cryptocurrency space stems from revelations regarding crypto’s use by tax evaders, and the evergreen concerns surrounding money-laundering. In January 2022, new laws will come into force that levy a 20% capital gains tax on profits made from cryptocurrency trading.

The National Tax Service of South Korea claimed the number of cryptocurrency investors rose 25% in the past year, resulting in an 800% increase to overall trade volume.

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