A UN Report Finds North Korea Used Millions in Stolen Crypto to Fund Its Missile Programs

North Korea stole hundreds of millions from crypto exchanges to pay for the development of its military missile programs.

As Reuters was first to report, North Korean cyberattacks on crypto exchanges stole millions of dollars worth of digital assets. Those illegal funds were used to pay for the development of the missile programs for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which is the full name for North Korea. That country has wielded its missile arsenal as part of its global intimidation campaigns for years. These revelations were captured by UN investigators, which were shared with Reuters.  

"According to a member state, DPRK cyber-actors stole more than $50 million between 2020 and mid-2021 from at least three cryptocurrency exchanges in North America, Europe and Asia," a UN report said, according to Reuters.

The report by independent monitors was reportedly submitted to the UN on Friday. The UN has banned North Korea, or DPRK, from launching any types of ballistic rockets or conducting nuclear tests. The media noted that cyber attacks on crypto exchanges are a critical funding stream for North Korea’s military ambitions, with a specific focus on nuclear and ballistic missile development.


The Reuters’ report further stated that North Korea has an army of computer hackers that number 7,000 in total. These individuals launch attacks to steal money, uncover secrets, and disrupt other countries’ critical infrastructure such as electrical grids and power stations.

The number of North Korean-linked cyberattacks rose in 2020 and 2021, and the value of proceeds from the hacks grew 40%, according to a study published in January by blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. Ether made up about 60% of almost $400 million worth of crypto stolen last year, while bitcoin made up 20%, it found.

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Tor Constantino

Tor Constantino is a former journalist, consultant and current corporate comms executive with an MBA degree and 25+ years of experience - writing about cryptocurrencies and blockchain since 2017. His writing has appeared across the web on Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, CEOWorld and Yahoo!. Tor's views are his own and do not reflect those of his current employer.