Every American bill includes the phrase “legal tender” somewhere on the greenback note. Well, it seems that the gold and silver pieces you collect in World of Warcraft should include the same notice — at least in South Korea, where virtual money has the same legitimacy as real-world currency.

Authorities arrested two men by the names of Kim and Lee for purchasing and selling Aden, the currency used in the MMORPG Lineage. The duo bought approximately $207,000 worth of Aden before selling it back to gamers — their plan netted them close to $18,000 in profit. Unfortunately, in South Korea, what they did was illegal. Kim and Lee faced a charge of “illegally making money.” Citing a law banning the exchange of virtual and real currency, a provincial court subsequently found them guilty. The two appealed the verdict and took their case all the way to the country’s Supreme Court, whose judges decided that acquiring in-game scratch was a matter of skill, not luck. This ruling consequently bestowed virtual cash the same validity as real, cold coinage.

How is this significant? Well, for starters, those endless hours you’ve spent farming in Icecrown may now result in tangible rewards…that is, if you live in Korea [GamePolitics via Massively].