North Korean Regime Reportedly Developing Cryptocurrency

Asia Blockchain Review
September 27, 2019

One of the world’s most reclusive states is reportedly looking to get around international restrictions using blockchain technology.

Citing sources representing North Korea’s government, VICE News reported that the isolated nation is specifically working on a cryptocurrency solution that would allow it to circumvent sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

North Korean Cryptocurrency in Early Stages

Alejandro Cao de Benos, a special delegate for the Committee for Cultural Relations for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, said Pyongyang has been developing a digital currency “more like Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies”.  In April, the special delegate led blockchain and cryptocurrency conferences organized by North Korea.

While North Korean Embassy officials in New York would not comment on the revelation, Cao de Benos indicated that the country is in “the very early stages in the creation of the token” and is “studying the goods that will give value to it”.

Blockchain as a Source for North Korean Funding 

It is widely accepted that the North Korean government maintains a unit devoted to technological crimes.  Pyongyang is believed by the United Nations to have stolen some US$2 billion through technological crimes and used blockchain technology to overcome restrictions on traditional banking. 

Speaking to VICE News, Kayla Izenman, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, said “There is absolutely no doubt that [North Koreans] have the technical expertise to develop and utilize almost any iteration of cryptocurrency.” 

She also warned a digital asset from the country would be used for illicit acts such as money laundering.


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