North Korea in Early Stages of Developing Its Own Cryptocurrency

Francisco Memoria

The North Korean government is reportedly working on developing its own cryptocurrency so it can avoid international sanctions and counter the U.S.-dominated financial system.

According to a report from VICE, the North Korean government is hosting a second cryptocurrency conference in February of next year, after bringing together “experts with foreign companies” at its first blockchain and crypto conference in April.

Alejandro Cao de Benos, the official in charge of Pyongyang’s cryptocurrency conferences and a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the country, revealed the cryptocurrency will be “more like bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies,” and that there are “no plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.”

He was quoted as saying:

We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it.

The cryptocurrency, which doesn’t have a name yet, is reportedly going to give the North Korean regime more control over their money as they’ll be able to take advantage of benefits seen in other cryptocurrencies, like the semi-anonymity offered by bitcoin, while controlling who can access it and analyze its blockchain.

The North Korean government is said to already have experience with cryptocurrencies, as according to a U.N. report seen by the Associated Press cryptocurrency exchange hacks helped the regime raise $2 billion for weapons programs.

Kayla Izenman, a research analyst at London-based think tank the Royal United Services Institute, stated:

North Korea has shown extensive interest in cryptocurrency, showing expertise in mining, hacking exchanges, cryptojacking, and more.

Other reports have suggest North Korea has been mining cryptocurrencies to use them to bypass international sanctions. South Korea has on various occasions accused hacking teams led by the North of attacking their cryptocurrency exchanges.

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