North Korea is developing its own national digital currency. The trend follows a long list of other countries, predominantly in Asia and the Middle East such as Iran and China and is likely an attempt to thwart present U.S. sanctions.
North Korea and Crypto: A Scary Mix?
It’s hard to know how to feel about news like this. On the one hand, any national venture involving digital assets is likely to propel the industry forward, but at the same time, what does North Korea plan to do with this cryptocurrency? The country has had a very “interesting” relationship with digital assets in the past, typically robbing other nations of whatever stashes they might have.
North Korea has allegedly been at the center of several hacks and crypto jacking attempts to gain funds that don’t belong to it. Now, news is emerging that suggests the country is using stolen crypto to fund its nuclear program.
At least the other countries, i.e. Iran and China, are developing their own currencies after having a relatively mixed relationship with crypto, but North Korea has always been clear on its stance. Crypto is a great tool for hiding one’s money, and why mine it if we can steal it?
China, which at one time was arguably the bitcoin capital of the world, has since banned all foreign exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It has also stated plans to potentially ban crypto mining but has yet to take any action in this department. It’s now looking at creating a new national cryptocurrency as a means of competing with Libra, Facebook’s highly controversial new coin.
Iran, on the other hand, has always been against bitcoin due, in part, to present sharia law, but it has seemingly “come around” here and there on a few different aspects. Crypto mining, for example, has since become legal in Iran. The country is likely looking to use its new digital currency as a means of offsetting U.S. sanctions after America imposed several new ones late last year and exited the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
Just Getting Started
Alejandro Cao de Benos, an official that’s in charge or organizing North Korea’s crypto conferences, said in a statement that the currency is not yet named and will be more like bitcoin. He also states:
We are still in the very early stages in the creation of the token. Now, we are in the phase of studying the goods that will give value to it […] No plans to digitize the [North Korean] won for now.
North Korea is a country that’s got the whole world on edge. In most cases, an addition to the crypto industry would be celebrated. Here, we must take everything with a grain of salt and greatly consider the next steps.