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North Korea’s (DPRK) Obsession With Cryptocurrency

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DPRK seeks a way out through blockchain.

North Korea (DPRK) is arguably the first nation in the world to wholeheartedly recognize cryptocurrencies as legitimate legal tender. It’s not hard to decipher why North Korea loves cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR) are a dream come true for the North Korean government; this technology is significant to the nation for a number of reasons.

North Korea and Blockchain

The relationship between the DPRK and blockchain technology is somewhat poetic. If used efficiently, this technology can be a way for this nation to become financially buoyant in the not-so-distant future.

Reports by The Korea Times on September 3rd, 2018, suggest precisely that. North Korea earned anywhere between $15M USD and $200M USD by mining and subsequently selling cryptocurrencies.

Planned Blockchain Technology Conference

Reports coming out of ROK suggest that the DPRK plans on hosting a blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies conference later this year in Pyongyang.

Furthermore, the two-day conference is scheduled to be held in October. DPRK hopes that the event will serve as a meeting point for participants to connect with representatives of DPRK-controlled organizations.

Ease of Doing Business via Monero (XMR)

North Korean hackers have a high affinity for Monero. This coin piques their interest for a number of reasons.

XMR includes specialist privacy features that other major cryptocurrencies fail to include. This makes it easier for stolen or mined XMR to be laundered.

XMR’s mixture of significant token value and easy launderability makes it the perfect coin for North Korean hackers.

North Korea’s Bitcoin Failures

North Korea-backed cryptocurrency hackers have attempted to mine Bitcoin in significant volume. However, the results have been less than ideal, as they could not make the profits they were after.

Bitcoin has proven to be harder to launder when compared to cryptocurrencies such as XMR. The numerous issues related to laundering Bitcoin doesn’t make the process worth it.

The Drawbacks of Cryptocurrency Mining in DPRK

It’s safe to say that the DPRK isn’t an ideal location for cryptocurrency mining. Suffering from decades of deprivation, there are countless reasons why cryptocurrency mining in North Korea has been less than successful.

Unsurprisingly, limited internet access in DPRK is perhaps the greatest drawback. This limits the growth of blockchain related businesses. Specifically, the scarcity of adequate computers and quality mining experts also contribute immensely.

In conclusion, it is possible for DPRK and other “rogue” nations to use digital currencies as an alternative system of transactions. Without question, this will weaken the ability of Western nations to leverage sanctions on them.


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