Polymarket User Charged Over Taiwan Election Bet

A Taiwanese man faces charges for illegally betting on the 2024 Taiwan elections via the crypto platform Polymarket.

A resident of Taiwan is facing legal repercussions for using the cryptocurrency betting platform Polymarket to gamble on the country’s 2024 elections. The Shilin District Prosecutor’s Office has accused a man, identified by his surname “Chen,” of placing bets on the election outcomes using USDC (USD Coin). Specifically, Chen wagered approximately $472 on the victory of the Taiwan People’s Party’s candidate, Ko Wen-je, in the presidential race. Additionally, he placed a $60 bet on the Democratic Progressive Party winning more legislative seats.

Legal Violations and Deferred Prosecution

The prosecutor’s investigation revealed that Chen’s actions were in violation of Taiwan’s laws that prohibit internet gambling on election results. According to the President and Vice President Election Recall Act, using online platforms to gamble on election outcomes is illegal. Chen admitted to the charges and received a deferred prosecution. Given that he had no prior criminal record, the court allowed him to defer prosecution for one year, provided he pays a fine of 30,000 yuan (around $4,000).

Taiwanese authorities have been vigilant in monitoring the use of crypto betting platforms like Polymarket, especially during election periods. In 2023, several individuals were summoned for investigation due to their alleged involvement in betting on election results through cryptocurrency platforms. The government has issued warnings to citizens, emphasizing that using crypto betting platforms for election outcomes is against the law. Violators could face severe penalties, including up to six months in prison, detention, or fines exceeding $3,000.

Understanding Polymarket

Polymarket has gained popularity as a betting platform within the cryptocurrency community. It allows users to place bets on a wide range of topics, from significant events like the approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund to more trivial matters, such as the number of tweets Elon Musk might post on a given day.

However, Polymarket has faced its share of regulatory challenges. In 2022, the platform settled with the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for $1.4 million in fines and was required to shut down markets that did not comply with CFTC and Commodity Exchange Act regulations. Despite these setbacks, Polymarket has continued to attract significant investment. On May 14, 2022, the platform secured a $70 million investment led by Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

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