North Korea is using cryptocurrency to circumvent economic sanctions and fund the development of nuclear weapons, according to a recent report.
The news was first released by the Independent based on a report from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
The report reveals how crypto has become a “financial lifeline” for North Korea in evading sanctions as the country continues to develop nuclear weapons.
Kayla Izenman, a research analyst who co-authored the paper, has said that cryptocurrency and its inherent borderless nature make it an attractive option.
“Given the large amounts of cryptocurrency generated from these exchange hacks and the possibility of more coming from mining operations, it is reasonable to assume that the money may be directly financing North Korea’s WMD (weapon of mass destruction) program,” Ms Izenman told the Independent.
She claims crypto is giving North Korea a method to transact with the wider world and circumvent any economic sanctions currently imposed on it.
A separate report cited by the Independent states that the UN Security Council estimated that North Korea had amassed more than $670 million worth of crypto to aid its regime.
In spite of recent breakthroughs in negotiations with the US, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un is still reportedly testing his advanced weapons.
The latest tests have come in the midst of a deadlock between Kim Jong-Un and US President Donald Trump.
The Independent’s report claims that satellite photos reveal North Korea’s apparent plans to launch missiles or potentially a space rocket from a facility near Pyongyang.
However, North Korea has consistently denied any accusations suggesting it has engaged in cybercrime as a means to circumvent current sanctions.
But it has displayed avid interest in the technology, and will be hosting its first international conference for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies this year – though citizens from Israel, Japan, and South Korea are reportedly not invited.
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