UN Experts Warn against Attending North Korean Crypto Conference

Francisco Memoria

Sanctions experts from the United Nations are warning people not to attend a cryptocurrency conference that’s set to be held in February in North Korea.

According to Reuters, a confidential report due to be submitted to the U.N. Security Council later this month flags attending the North Korean cryptocurrency conference as a likely violation of international sanctions.

The warning comes as experts believe that North Korea has managed to generate over $2 billion for its weapons of mass destruction programs using cyberattacks on banks and cryptocurrency exchanges. Lazarus, a hacking group associated with Pyongyang, is believed to have stolen over $500 million worth of cryptocurrency hacking popular exchanges.

The country has been under U.N. sanctions since 2006 over its weapons of mass destruction program, which prompted it to find alternative ways to make money, which reportedly include a restaurant chain.

North Korea’s first blockchain and cryptocurrency conference was held in April of last year, and according to Reuters an organizer revealed over 80 organizations participated. The next one will be held from February 22-29.

U.N.’s report warning against attending the conference adds some presentations have “included explicit discussions of cryptocurrency for sanctions evasion and money laundering.” A British government spokesman reportedly added:

Supporting the DPRK’s [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s] use of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, risks violating the Security Council’s resolutions because it would unavoidably increase the DPRK’s ability to subvert sanctions and generate revenue for its weapons programs.

Late last year, Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith was formally charged for attending North Korea’s cryptocurrency conference. He was accused of providing the country services without U.S. approval.

The website promoting North Korea’s cryptocurrency conference reportedly notes that American citizens are welcomed to attend, adding their passports won’t be stamped so “there will be no evidence of your entry to the country.”

Featured image via Pixabay.com