According to local news outlet mk.co.kr, the South Korean government has seized more than 260 billion Korean won ($180 million) worth of cryptocurrencies over the past two years due to tax debt. The country’s politicians adopted rules allowing for the confiscation of digital currencies for tax evasion and began enforcing them last year.
One person living in Seoul, nicknamed “Person A”, had 1.43 billion won in back taxes and had his cryptocurrency exchange account confiscated by the authorities. The account held 12.49 billion won of digital assets spread across 20 coins and tokens, including 3.2 billion won in Bitcoin and 1.9 billion won in Ripple.
After the confiscation, “Person A” reportedly paid off the debt and demanded that the sale of seized assets be suspended. If the back taxes are not paid, the South Korean law allows the authorities to sell the confiscated cryptocurrencies at market value.
South Korea is one of the most popular countries in the world for crypto activity, with its digital currency market growing to $45.9 billion last year. In March, crypto-friendly Yoon Suk-yeol won the country’s presidential election, and soon after, the coin used to mint his signature as a non-fungible token surged 60%. In addition, both leading candidates issued campaign-related NFTs to support the election.
Yoon vowed to “revise regulations that are far from reality and unfounded” in South Korea’s crypto sector. One of the measures, passed in July, includes a two-year deferral of 20% tax on cryptocurrency income in excess of 2.5 million won.