North Korea Accumulates $650 Million in Cryptocurrency

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In a recent report submitted to the UN, North Korea is accused of accumulation more than half a billion dollars in cryptocurrency. The country is basically a stand-alone pariah due to the tough regime by Dictator Kim Jong Un, which has seen the country suffer economically and get sanction upon sanction and cut off from the global economy. It is therefore not so surprising to hear that the country is slowly accumulating millions in cryptocurrencies.

The regime has had a hand in a few suspicious economic activities fueled by its tight control of its military and intelligence capabilities; that are normally fueled towards funding personal coffers of the Pyongyang elite. In September of 2018, CCN posted an article review of the cryptocurrency atmosphere in North Korea and stated that the country is using crypto assets to circumvent US sanctions.

The country’s mining activities were estimated to earn it between $15 and $200 million which they then push into different international exchanges, mixing and scrambling their services which mask their intentional exploitation of financial institutions that have fostered banking relationships with the United States. That notion pales in comparison to the shitstorm that was the Coincheck hacking scandal that was believed to have been sponsored by Kim Jong Un himself. The UN quoted that Cryptocurrencies will help the country to evade sanctions primarily because crypto is largely untraceable and independent of government regulation.

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North Korea’s Office 39 was reported to have used malware commonly refereed to spear phishing to attack South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges to steal Bitcoin in 2017. This reckless ballsy move followed sanctions imposed by the UN against textile exports and severe capping of their fuel supplies. Not to add that the country has positively been identified as a criminal regime due to its nuclear weapon testing and manufacture. The country has invested billions into their military and chemical weapons and literally neglected everything else in the efforts to be the world’s nuclear superpower.

On a different perspective, maybe the sanctions are counterproductive since they do not really the country’s elite who only work to line their pockets but the sanctions hurt the already critically oppressed North Korean population. It is a warped way to curb the efforts towards nuclear funding. That is why it is not surprising that the country gravitated towards digital assets. But, the blame is not entirely on cryptocurrency because North Korea weapons of mass destruction agenda has existed for a long time. Digital assets merely provided technological advancement and a different avenue to do that especially because of its value that makes it the most attractive option.

In a report earlier this year, financial reviews and the experts at satellite imagery investigating North Korean nuclear plants revealed that the sanctions levied against the country have done very little to stop the manufacture of missiles and warheads. There has simply not been significant political of economic pressure to stifle chemical weapons production.

What North Korea is doing is not unwarranted considering it’s the same thing that is happening in Venezuela. The country has fallen to such economic depravity due to the level of corruption that even its own citizens fled the country as it was impossible to survive. Enter cryptocurrencies which offered a lifeline to those who could access it and invest in it. In many ways, Venezuela and North Korea are similar, for example their weakened population has no time to protest the gross economic indiscretions of the regimes if they are struggling to eat or get healthcare. One economics journalist, Tim Padgett, even referred to President Maduro the Caracas Kim back in 2017.

Many countries doing what North Korea is doing are motivated by currency crises and preposterous hyperinflation of their individual currencies. Such like Zimbabwe, Iran, Turkey and Argentina. Only difference is that these countries do not really pose any kind of threat such as North Korea which is potentially capable of causing world war three.  

 

 

 

 

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