North Korea was accused of stealing over $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency through crypto exchange platforms in the span of five years. The country hires hackers to commit cybercrime and launder money from foreign nations.
The North Korean government sees crypto as a long-term investment. Instead of cashing the stolen crypto out, they are keeping the assets. Some media outlets wrote that a part of the funds goes to North Korea’s military supplies.
“Considering the fact that the price of Bitcoin (BTC) has risen more than 60 times since 2017, when North Korean hackers started hacking cryptocurrency exchanges in earnest, North Korea is using the stolen cryptocurrency from the perspective of long-term investment. For North Korea, cryptocurrency has become the only financial asset that can be acquired while it is under tight economic sanctions, and [recognizes its value] for sanctions evasion-related purposes,
The Asan Institute for Policy Studies’ Researcher Koh Myung-Hyun was quoted.
There are three specific North Korean crypto hacks noted: 2017 hack in South Korean platform Bithumb ($32 million stolen), 4,000 Bitcoins illegally obtained from YouBit, and $281 million worth of crypto was lost on Kucoin.
In March 2019, North Korea’s capital Pyongyang was accused of stealing $670 million in fiat foreign and digital currencies.
According to some sources, North Korea aims to use the money from crypto tokens for building a coastal Wonsan-Kalma tourist attraction, and a flagship hospital in the capital.
On the Flipside
Many crypto trading platforms are focusing on strenghtening cybersecurity, as cybercrime in the industry is on the rise.
Why You Should Care
North Korea could become a hub of crypto cyberattacks.