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Tax information leaked early in KakaoTalk chatroom

Details about a tax revision that will go into effect from 2021 were leaked through an online community dedicated to cryptocurrency on July 21. The official announcement from the government was scheduled for July 22. The leak was mostly done on open chat rooms of Kakao Talk, the most widely used mobile chat platform in Korea. Open chat refers to online chatrooms that discuss a certain subject, and anyone who is interested in the subject can participate. A 25-page government press release about taxing profit generated from cryptocurrency was distributed through Kakao Talk chatrooms on July 21 at 10:50 a.m. At 11:15 a.m., the entire press release, with an embargo set for July 22 at 2 p.m., was distributed online. At first, when only 25 pages of the press release was leaked, it was hard to confirm the authenticity since the first page of the press package was missing, which normally identifies the institution making the announcement and the responsible official. However, with the entire package being leaked moments later, it became clear that the release was from the Ministry of Finance. Since the data was released through so many channels, it seems unlikely that the responsible party will be identified. This is not the first time a government press release was leaked. In 2017, the government had held a meeting about how to handle cryptocurrency investment. The related release got distributed through private channels four hours prior to its embargo. Due to the leak, the bitcoin price fluctuated and it was later found out that officials from Korea Customs Service had shared the file through online chat rooms.

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