In a recent U.N. Security Council meeting, a panel of industry experts claimed that North Korea could have a stockpile of $670 million worth of cryptocurrencies that isn’t the nation owns. This stockpile purportedly includes presumably Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In a piece from Nikkei Asian review, it was reported that experts provided evidences to the UN that Kim Jong Un’s North Korea is sitting upon more than half a billion US dollars’ worth of Crypto. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, which broke this news, the UN’s North Korean sanctions team were informed that cryptocurrencies could make it easier for North Korea evade sanctions given that they are elusive, and are relatively easy to launder across borders. Well, this isn’t surprising. As the rest of the world are outspoken about their opposition to nuclear testing on the Korean peninsula, so has the Korean leader find means to bypass these restrictions.
How did North Korea garner this stockpile? The Nikkei Asian Review claim that hackers associated with the nation broke into a number of crypto exchanges, carting away millions in the process. As earlier reports from Ethereum World News has shown, a Group-IB report claims that the North Korea-based Lazarus hacker group is responsible for some of the cryptoverse’s industry’s most-scathing hacks in the past 12 months.
How powerful the hacker group Lazarus is, we can’t say with certainty. However, using references from the Group-IB report, The Next Web’s Hard Fork revealed that the group is directly tied to the attacks on the following five cryptocurrency platforms — CoinCheck, YouBit, Coinis, Bithumb, and Yapizon.
Lazarus is believed to be sponsored by Kim Jong Un himself, had their hands in a lot of wallets with the headline $530 million hack of Coincheck widely believed to have originated from in Korea. North Korea’s misuse of the Blockchain technology made the UN say this:
“Virtual Currencies provide the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with more ways to evade sanctions, given that they are harder to trace, can be laundered many times and are independent from government regulation.”
This scathing comments about Bitcoin is where the UN gets it
all wrong. North Korea’s wrongdoing isn’t because of bitcoin or other altcoins.
They are well known for their large smuggling rings, using ships, in
particular, to keep their country afloat. No-one is passing scathing remarks
about how boats have been used to bypass trade barriers.
Have you ever wondered why we never use scathing remarks on using cars despite it killing a rough estimate of 1.3 million people yearly? Why haven’t the UN banned the use of cars?
The UN shouldn’t be unnecessarily obsessed over cryptocurrencies. North Korea’s misuse of crypto shouldn’t be used as a guise to put the coins in bad lights. In Venezuela, Bitcoin is considered a lifeline; a source of livelihood. North Korea might have been one of the bad guys who benefitted from its rise, but blaming Cryptocurrency is hypocritical. Kim might have $670 million in crypto; how much does he have in smuggled fiat?
Unanswered, isn’t it?