The battle line has been drawn, between North Korea on one side and the world led by the United States on the other. Despite wave after wave of sanctions the, the supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un only seem to be digging in. Even China, North Korea’s traditional ally and regional powerhouse seems to be losing patience with the regime, announcing its own version of sanctions which is now forcing North Korea to look elsewhere for alternative sources of foreign exchange.
The decentralized and anonymous nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies seem to be getting the regime’s attention, deploying its renowned hacking teams to commandeer Bitcoin hacks in major exchanges from its neighbor to the south. In one of such incidents in May, hackers suspected to be from North Korea successfully robbed the Yapizon exchange based in Seoul stealing 3800 Bitcoin in the process. Hackers from the isolated state are also suspected to be responsible for majority of the WannaCry attacks this year, and are said to have collected millions of dollars worth of bitcoin in ransom from their victims around the world.
North Korea desperately needs hard currency to fund both its nuclear and non-nuclear activities, the regime has long been rumored to be producing high quality counterfeit US dollars, may now see the cryptocurrency world as even a better avenue to getting its finances without stirring the hornet’s nest. Bitcoin presents itself as the perfect money laundering tool for Kim Jong Un. However experts say that for the regime to exchange stolen Bitcoins it has to exchange through a series of even more opaque cryptocurrency like Monero before then selling them for fiat currency, essentially deleting any possible trace that could be made out of its transactions.