$4.4M Seized: US, Binance Step Up to Stop North Korean Crime

Settling their past differences, Binance & the U.S. authorities collaborate on retrieving $4.4 million of stolen funds.

Binance crypto police walking away from a pole of burning cash.
Created by Gabor Kovacs from DailyCoin
  • The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targets the DPRK.
  • Binance helped freeze $4.4M tied to known North Korean cybercriminals.
  • North Korea’s regime stole over $635M last year, funding ballistic missiles.

The leading crypto exchange Binance disclosed that they managed to trace and freeze $4.4 million of funds tied to terrorist organizations connected to North Korea. Indeed, North Korea’s hackers were a pain in the rear end for many blockchain enthusiasts in 2022.

According to U.S. Treasury documents, these hacker groups, working for the totalitarian regime of supreme leader Kim Jong Un, have collectively stolen a whopping $635 million throughout a record-breaking year of phishing hacks and scams for crypto.

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On top of that, the U.S. Government reports that these illicit funds are usually used to fund the regime’s missile tests and other dangerous nuclear experiments.

On-Chain Sleuths to End Kim Jong Un’s Sinister Plans?

While the highly-trained North Korean specialists are being used as tools by their government to fund more destruction weapons, on-chain investigators are doing their best to prevent the bad actors from cashing out. 

Indeed, internet detectives can use their expertise on the blockchain more thoroughly. The transparency lies in that any blockchain transaction can be traced back to the sender, as the registry is publicly accessible.

While Binance’s Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao explained how the Binance team previously retrieved the $5.8 million from the infamous Axie Infinity hack last year, another $4.4 million was traced through investigation of illicit IT working activities, which has been the go-to for North Korean hackers so far in 2023.

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According to this tactic, North Korean cybercriminals use fake identification to get freelance jobs overseas, while most work opportunities are crypto-related. Posing as citizens of other countries, the North Korean fraudsters siphon the funds back to the Hermit Kingdom.

On the Flipside

  • U.S. authorities claim these North Korean hackers are not solely based in North Korea.
  • According to the OFAC, the same people are involved in Lazarus-affiliated gangs in Russia and China.

Why This Matters

Cybercrime has been on the rise since 2022, while North Korea is leading in stolen cryptocurrency by far, with over $635 million worth of crypto stolen last year.

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This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Tadas Klimasevskis

Tadas Klimaševskis is a Lithuanian journalist at DailyCoin, specializing in covering the lighter side of the crypto industry such as memecoins and pop culture in the metaverse. He has experience as a music artist, English language teacher, and freelance writer, and uses his creative writing skills to summarize valuable information in his work. He is also a strong believer in the potential of blockchain and spends his free time listening to music, traveling, and watching basketball games.