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North Korea Appears to Have Run a Short-Lived Bitcoin Mining Operation

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:34 PM
Jack Mathis
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:34 PM

A Korean organization announced  yesterday that researchers discovered that North Korea tried to mine cryptocurrency last year.

A research unit of South Korea’s state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) disclosed their report publicly with these findings. The research unit said North Korea launched an effort to mine bitcoin between May and July last year, especially as a means to work around international sanctions, including banking and finance sanctions.

The report also stated that the country takes a particular interest in coins and tokens that keep users anonymous. This is because these coins provide the best untraceable means to hide money laundering from other countries.

North Korea Isn’t Giving up on Crypto

The rogue nation has a long history with cryptocurrency. As CCN.com reported, the first transaction in the country goes as far back as 2014. However, the country maintains strict secrecy around their government operation and their activity with digital currency could go much further back.

This latest report confirms that North Korea is still very active when it comes to using cryptocurrency as an alternate means of funding. Since most countries have sanctions on the North Korea because of its nuclear missile program, the authoritarian government does not have many resources to raise money. However, it seems that the country gave up its mining efforts after a short time, according to the report.

Interestingly, the report found that actual North Korean do not know anything about cryptocurrency. The recent defectors said that they had not heard of cryptocurrency.

Hacking over Mining?

North Korea is best known for large, sophisticated hacks of cryptocurrency exchanges. As CCN.com reported, a report out of South Korea claimed that North Korea had stolen tens of millions of dollars worth of coins from cryptocurrency exchanges. North Korea is also the prime suspect for the Youbit Exchange hack in December last year.

As of late, the country has not satisfied Trump’s campaign pressure to denuclearize. A meeting between the two countries was recently called off because of renewed tensions. So for the foreseeable future, the sanctions don’t seem to be going anywhere, and North Korea will continue its activity for gathering cryptocurrency.

Featured image from Shutterstock.