Numerous countries under the sanctions of the U.S, such as Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela, decided to adopt cryptocurrencies as a tool to evade the financial pressure they face. While North Korea was known for developing nuclear weapons in the past few years, a recent report by Vice claims that the Asian dictatorship decided to develop a national cryptocurrency as well.
According to Alejandro Cao de Benos, North Korea’s spokesperson for crypto conferences, the nation plans on creating a digital asset that is similar to ‘Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.’ As North Korea has previously been taking several extreme measures to evade U.S. sanctions, the crypto project comes as a surprise.
North Korea has expressed its interest in cryptocurrencies in blockchain technology in April for the first time, by creating a conference for the industry at which both domestic experts and foreign companies have attended.
Alejandro, who is also a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the DPRK, announced during the newest conference that the digital asset is still at its very early stages. He added that the nation is still researching a real use case for which the cryptocurrency could be implemented.
After asking the North Korean Embassy to the U.N. whether the announcement is true, the embassy spokesperson refused to answer. Sources close to the domestic crypto sector told Vice that the dictatorship definitely has the experts and technology needed to create such an asset.
Will the project be used for malicious reasons?
This does not come as a surprise as the North Korea hacking scene is extremely notorious. Their knowledge in hacking might as well be utilized for creating digital assets, which may be used to either help the nation or to cause some sort of malicious attack on other countries.
Kayla Izenman, a research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute told Vice that the country has already shown its expertise in hacking exchanges, mining, and cryptojacking. According to her, there is no doubt that North Korea is capable of developing a digital asset.
The controversial nation is known for trying to circumnavigate international sanctions in the past by using cryptocurrencies. According to a report from Recorded Future, an intelligence research firm, the nation might mine crypto assets in order to generate revenue for the government.
Furthermore, some suspect that the North Korean regime was behind some of the well-known hacking attempts at cryptocurrency exchanges. According to a report by cybersecurity firm FireEye, North Korean hackers tried to hack three South Korean crypto exchanges with the goal to steal assets.
Taking an overall look at the situation in North Korea, it is almost certain that the country won’t create a cryptocurrency to spread adoption amongst its populace, but rather use it for criminal purposes.
A report published by the U.N. claims that North Korea has already amassed $2 billion in cyberattack to support its weapons program. In their hacking attacks, the nation has stolen both fiat money and cryptocurrencies.
Their focus on the disruptive sector can be even seen with an offering of a crypto crash course for undergraduates who study at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology. Taught by Federico Tenga, founder of a startup named Chainside, the Italian crypto enthusiasts led the course in 2017 and taught more than 30 of North Korea’s best students about blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Two years leader, the blockchain expert said that he is certain that North Korea is capable of building their own cryptocurrency. For Vice, Tenga stated that the nation has ‘enough human capital to handle this’ and that it ‘does not require too much expertise.