South Korean Law Firm Announces Plans To Appeal Bitcoin Laws

A law firm in South Korea has announced it intends to challenge proposed new laws around bitcoin, in the wake of official filings with the country’s Constitutional Court.

Anguk Law Offices, a firm based in Seoul, filed the appeal documentation online Saturday, on the basis that the proposed new laws violated property rights without sufficient legal basis under the Korean constitution.

The South Korean government announced late in December its intention to clamp down on cryptocurrency use and exchanges, following concerns over the rapid growth in price, which some analysts fear is creating bubble conditions in the market.

Ostensibly a bid to protect retail investors, the proposed measures include a ban on anonymous cryptocurrency transactions, and a restriction on which bank accounts can be used to fund and withdraw from online cryptocurrency exchange accounts.

However, the measures have come in for criticism in some quarters, suggesting the moves constitute excessive government interference.

In the filing, Anguk Law Offices agrees that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not legal tender, but submits that they are a property asset like commodities, with their own economic value.

As such, the application suggests a violation of basic property rights under South Korean constitutional law, as part of its attempt to challenge and seek a ruling on the government proposals.

According to a statement from Anguk, it is the distortive impact on trading that is directly infringing on property rights enshrined in South Korean law.

“The government’s regulation is devaluing virtual currencies by making trading very difficult. Thus, this is an infringement on people’s property rights by the government’s unlawful measures.”

Aside from the initial appeal, the law firm has also said it is working on several other appeal papers on behalf of cryptocurrency exchanges and individual investors.

With the regulations set to be rolled out as soon as January 20, both Anguk and the exchanges involved will be hoping for speedy consideration in front of the Korean Constitutional Court.

Anguk’s argument focuses on the impact of the new regulations, suggesting regulations should come after applicable laws.

“The petition is also a request for the government to respect people’s property rights and introduce regulations after a social consensus is made.”